Scrap Guy is a division of Greeneville Iron & Metals, Inc. and operates as a full service mobile recycling unit.
Recalling the events of the past year, it is hard to believe how a couple of thoughts and sketch drawings can become a working reality. This is the story and how it began…
As gas prices began to soar and looking for ways to stay at the top of our industry, the idea was born to go into individual communities and provide the same services offered at a large recycling yard. It needed to be clean, safe, bright, meet all regulations, easy to use, fun, and recyclables contained neatly. The concept was also thought to be great for fund raisers, one day recycling events, fairs, races, and now disasters. A lot of paper was used in sketches of a unit that could handle this task. In August 2010, a crude scaled model was built to provide a three dimensional design of the sketches. After many meetings with our management team, the crude model was still virtually unchanged. In January 2011, after a patent search by a New York attorney to make sure there were no infringements, we officially applied for a patent for the unit. Then the planning began to build the full size trailer.
The building phase began with full force. The unit features two Kubota diesels, two computers, and electronic scales boom. One Kubota diesel is used for AC power and the other is used for hydraulic power. One computer allows the cashier to pay and comply with all the requirements for the Tennessee Scrap Dealers Law (18 years old, thumb print, drivers license, signature), and the other is used for the security system with cameras. These computers communicate with the main servers in our office which allows us to see real time information form the unit. A heavy duty crane performs all the heavy lifting and loading with a legal for trade scale on the boom. This scale on the boom allows the customers to see the weight. At the same time as the construction was taking place, ideas for a name and marketing campaign were being tossed around. Foster Sign Company in Jonesborough worked with us to design the concept and graphics. Eventually, “Scrap Guy” became the name and was trademarked April 2011. The unit was slowly becoming reality quietly hid away from the public eye with only our associates and a few select vendors knowing about its existence. A special unveiling and ribbon cutting on pavement was being talked about for the coming weeks. The unit was almost completely built with a successful design that seemed to work.
Then, on April 27, 2011 our community experienced the disastrous tornadoes. I received a call from County Mayor Alan Broyles asking if there was a portable recycling center to help disaster victims. He thought it would be a quick way to get some money going back into the community. I was caught totally off guard knowing that in a few short weeks we were set to release such a unit. We were hesitant wondering if we were ready for such a big task, and we were still four weeks off from completion. Our management team met several times that day and unanimously decided to that “what a better way to help our community” and “test our carefully planned design.” We did not want to appear to be cashing in on a disaster and agreed to keep the prices abnormally high to give back to the community. Patricia, Beth, Matthew, and I as a family met with Mayor Alan Broyles, Bill Brown, and David Weems at the operations center that night and agreed to take on the overwhelming challenge after a tour of the area. All of our associates rolled up their sleeves and went to work to complete the unit. On May 5, 2011 Scrap Guy Mobile Recycling Unit rolled out of the shadows and went to work at its temporary home at 600 Rambo Road. We quickly found that the volume was running around 500% higher than we designed the unit to handle. To our amazement it was handling it without a problem.
Since that first day, a few of the systems have been upgraded, and we feel that the concept is rock solid. The most sophisticated recycling unit built survived the biggest test we ever considered possible in the middle of a disaster area. As of June 30, 2011, the unit has recycled around 50 tractor trailer loads of scrap metal. Along the way many new friends were made, and we have a great appreciation for the hardworking, pleasant folks of the disaster area. We are thankful for the cooperation and encouragement of the County Mayors Office, Emergency Management, Greene County Sheriff Department, Greene County Highway Department, Greeneville Light and Power, Comcast, Mr. Teddy Lawing, our vendors, and most importantly the tireless effort from our managers and employees. The unit has been brought back to our main yard for more upgrades and will return to the community on July 12, 2011. The new temporary home will be at the corner of 107 Cut-Off and Jonesbridge Road (The Crossroads) where we will continue to serve the disaster community for a few more weeks. The success of the unit has provided an insight to many future possibilities of mobile recycling. Our goal is to use six of these units in Greene and the surrounding counties. In the future, we would like to eventually franchise the concept. We appreciate your continued support as we expand the concept.
Jeff L. Collins
Greeneville Iron & Metals, Inc.
315 Old Stage Road
Greeneville, TN 37745