Security Shredding and Storage - a shredding industry publication
by Kim Fernandez

Today’s businesses need to dispose of unused product for any number of reasons. Pharmaceutical companies require old or defective products shredded and destroyed, cosmetics companies dispose of expired makeup and cleansers, and food manufacturers need to ensure that their old or recalled products never make it to consumer hands.

When these needs arise, many of them call on Waste Recovery Solutions, Inc., Myerstown, PA.

“Waste Recovery Solutions is a PA DEP permitted residual waste processing facility,” says President Bernard C. Reiley. “We work with a variety of different manufacturers to dispose of industrial byproducts from manufacturing and processing plants.”

Incorporated in 1999, WRS began operations the following year. Besides being a licensed residual waste processing facility, it is also licensed as a 10-day-in-transit hazardous waste facility and an EPA CERCLA approved facility. In short, the company is approved to completely destroy and dispose of just about anything, from industrial oils to shampoos to medications to plastic or cardboard packaging.

Thanks to the company’s vast destruction capabilities, it receives product from as far away as Puerto Rico and from all over the continental United States.

At its founding, WRS mainly received liquids in drums or bulk tanks. But the addition of a custom SSI shredder several years ago significantly increased the facility’s capacity to facilitate dealing with all kinds of materials. Word quickly spread.

“Larger, publicly traded companies have their own environmental health and safety departments, and they audit facilities to make sure everything is compliant and that materials will be properly managed,” says Reiley. “We went through some pharmaceutical audits, and they saw that we had the custom shredder from SSI. They started asking what we could do with that shredder.”

The answer was, WRS could destroy just about anything, even if it’s still encased in consumer packaging.

That’s important, says Reiley, and a lesson that was learned the hard way about 15 years ago, when a pain reliever manufacturer learned that an ingredient used in their medication wasn’t up to par. Instead of ensuring that the pills were completely destroyed, the company had them sent to a landfill.

“Every Saturday morning, there are all these people emptying out their garages and basements and taking that stuff to the landfill,” says Reiley. “They looked over and saw these brand-new boxes of pain reliever that sells for $10 or $15 a bottle. They threw it in the backs of their trucks and started selling the bottles at flea markets for like $5.”

It wasn’t long before people started getting sick from the medication.

“They called their lawyers, who contacted the manufacturer,” says Reiley. “The manufacturer called its insurance company. And their response was, ‘Just start writing checks.’”

The lesson was taken seriously by the entire industry, he says. “Pharmaceutical companies have large exposure,” he says. “It behooves them to make sure none of their products can resurface in the marketplace.”

Liability

As a result of cases like these, WRS saw a market opportunity to provide destruction for medications and other products coming through its plant. And it wasn’t always the drugs themselves—even outdated or misprinted packaging needed to be completely destroyed.

“Labels and packaging are very important,” says Reiley. “We get truckloads of labels to be shredded. We can process them and destroy them. It gives manufacturers the peace of mind of knowing they’re not going to resurface overseas.”

Thanks to the company’s large shredder, companies deliver mass quantities of labels and packages to WRS on pallets. WRS, then, can put a whole skid of packages—or goods inside packages—inside the machines to be destroyed. And they’ve destroyed just about everything, from clothes to chemicals to condiments to products samples to beverages to electronics.

“We’re seeing a lot of paints,” says Reiley. “Latex or soy-based paints have a shelf life printed on them. Once it goes past that shelf life, it goes back to the distributors or manufacturing plants. They try to rework what they can, but then we are sent the remaining unusable material to shred and then send to a landfill or for incineration.”

The company also has an inside storage tank for bulk liquids, robotic drum clamps for fork trucks, and robotic handling equipment for hazardous materials. “We get products in every kind of packaging you can imagine,” says Reiley. “Eyeliner, shampoo bottles, 6,000-gallon liquid tankers. We received a call this morning for a quote to destroy contaminated dog food. The company had large volumes of it that needed to be destroyed. With something like that, the reason they’re looking at WRS is because of our shredder.”

In that particular case, he says, the dog food was in various types of consumer packaging. “Their attorneys want to make sure that the packaging and the materials inside are completely destroyed,” he says. “That limits the facilities that can take it.”

The same is true, he says, for a bottled water manufacturer who called recently, needing 20 tons of expired water destroyed along with its packaging. “They need to make sure all the plastic from the bottles goes to a plastics recycler, and that the cardboard boxes are shredded and recycled,” he says. “We can do that.”

WRS also accepts bulk liquids in trucks, tankers, van trailers, and other vehicles, and offers bulk liquid stabilization. Additionally, the company prides itself on suggesting and providing recycling options to its customers even in cases where the customer might not have thought recycling was possible. This includes solvent recovery, silver recovery, batteries, computer monitors and CRTs, mercury, fluorescent bulbs, and a long list of other materials.

WRS’ 15 employees work primarily daytime shifts, although WRS has a permit that allows them to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees who may be exposed to hazardous materials, though non-regulated, hold OSHA training certificates for such things. Reiley says the company is committed to health and safety issues.

The six-acre site features a 22,500 square foot steel building with a 4,000 square foot drum/container staging area that can hold up to 800 drums at a time. A large processing area ensures proper handling of all kinds of materials, and shredded materials gravity feed into a solidification basin.

That basin is located inside the building, giving drivers the opportunity to off-load out of the elements and then rinse their vac trucks out to remove any remaining traces. WRS audits its approved waste-to-energy facilities annually, and only uses facilities that remain on their list after that audit.

The company’s website, pndq.com/www.wrsinc.com, offers clients the opportunity to take a virtual tour of the facility, view and print its many certificates and permits, download directions to the plant, and link to resources such as the EPA and OSHA to learn more about what’s required for disposal of many materials.

Thanks to the company’s location, near many major highways and traffic routes, bringing materials in by truck from nearly anywhere is easy. “They can arrange for their own transportation or we can arrange to pickup through an outside waste transporter,” says Reiley. “In Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, WRS is licensed to complete pickups for our customers with our trucks.”

Reiley says the company has enjoyed great success because of its varied and large capacity for so many different materials. Its commitment to safety and its care to research creative ways to recycle as many materials as possible have also set it ahead in the minds of its customers.

“We have a real niche in the marketplace,” he says. “There’s nobody on the east coast that has the capabilities we do.”

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