American Power Systems

Photo shows 13 person staff of American Power Systems standing in front of equipment in their manufacturing area.

Recycling: It's Good for Business, by Julie Plummer, Area 5

Recycling has always been part of doing business for American Power Systems, Inc., but thanks in part to efforts by Iowa Waste Exchange Area 5 Resource Specialist Julie Plummer, APS is now recycling more than ever before.

The manufacturer of high output alternators and vehicle power systems in Davenport, Iowa, has recycled large quantities of scrap metal over the years, but the everyday recycling of materials generated within the office and plant presented initial problems.

“As a small business in a downtown area, space is at a premium in our parking lot. Our waste receptacles have to fit on our lot, along with all our staff vehicles,” said Brandy Welvaert, marketing and communication manager for APS. Having previously worked for Waste Commission of Scott County (WCSC), Welvaert helped get recycling off the ground at APS in June 2017.

First APS approached IWE for support and assistance. APS also received helpful information from WCSC and collected information about how much waste the company generates and where it was going. They also worked with their local hauler, Republic Services, to measure their parking lot and decide which waste containers to use.

Several adjustments had to be made along the way in terms of receptacle size and placement, but one year in, everything runs smoothly without any extra effort, Welvaert said.

Another key takeaway for the business is that adding recycling did not increase waste hauling fees. In fact, the company now pays slightly less for hauling, despite adding a second container for recycling.

“Starting to recycle in a small business can seem daunting. It takes a little time and some forethought, and it’s probably not possible to nail it on your first try, if we’re being really honest,” Welvaert said. “But with assistance from the professionals, it can be done. Iowa Waste Exchange helped by showing us the steps to take to keep good materials out of the landfill.”

APS set a goal of recycling 20,000 pounds in its first year of the comprehensive recycling program . It exceeded that goal by two tons.
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