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Monday, 14 May 2012 21:27

URI Students Recycle Automotive Scrap

Two University of Rhode Island undergraduates invested their own money to buy 12 Dumpsters, and Scrap Specialists Recycling was born. Their enterprise operates out of 386 South Pier Road, and saves several automotive businesses hundreds of dollars every month by properly disposing of their recyclables — for free.


“We chose to start with automotive businesses because such a large percentage of their waste is recyclable,” Gregory said. “There isn’t anything in a car we can’t recycle.”

Beginning last fall, Gregory and Harrigan tested the waters by partnering with Crown Collision, a successful auto body business with shops in Rhode Island. The students dropped off a Dumpster at each location and instructed employees to toss all recyclables — paper, boxes, plastics, auto parts and scrap metal. When a Dumpster is full, the URI students remove and sort the materials, bail them and vendors haul the bails away.

The money vendors pay for the recyclables is put back into the business so Scrap Specialists Recycling can buy more equipment and take on more clients.

“We encourage people to take a ride to the landfill in Johnston. It is truly humbling to see that towering heap of trash which is going to be there for thousands years,” Gregory said. “It’s even more sickening to know that 70 percent of that garbage could have been recycled.”

Crown Collision had to spend between $200 and $400 a month to keep a Dumpster at each shop to dispose of all its waste. Now, Crown Collision doesn’t pay anything for its scrap disposal and all of its scrap materials are recycled.

“We give our clients an incentive to recycle by cutting their disposal costs,” Gregory said.

Harrigan and Gregory already are developing plans to expand their business to include more recyclables-producing industries, the development of their own scrap yard and a composting project.

“We currently have seven accounts and are constantly looking for new ones to adopt our recycling program,” Gregory said. “Our current goal is to reach 30 to 40 accounts so we can expand our business and increase recycling awareness.”

In fact, Scrap Specialists Recycling was started because both Harrigan and Gregory want to increase recycling awareness and emphasize the importance it has for a sustainable and cleaner future. They hope awareness will increase when people see these new projects in place.

“We believe recycling is essential in the transformation of awareness that must take place in the coming years,” Gregory said. “Reducing our consumption and reusing the ‘waste’ we produce is vital in our society if we are to become sustainable.”

For more information about Scrap Specialists Recycling, send an e-mail to Dylan Gregory at


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