By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
EDINBURG -- They might not be turning lead into gold, but they are turning it into cash.
Shenandoah Scrap Metal opened earlier this month, and on a recent afternoon, truck after truck came in hauling metal that would be crushed and recycled.
The 179 Landfill Road site is one of 18 locations Joseph Smith & Sons has in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. The company, which has been around since 1898, already had sites in Winchester and Harrisonburg, according to regional sales and purchasing manager Clay Ellis.
"It makes sense to put one in the middle," said C.R. Wotring, regional operations manager.
The scrap yard works with municipalities, corporations and individuals.
"We recycle any metal -- cars, refrigerators, stoves, anything that's metal-bearing," Ellis said. "We also take in non-ferrous [non-magnetic] metals.
"We come in and clean up the counties. The county loves us. They're happy we're here. They work with us great. We also help businesses out, put more money to their bottom line."
Shenandoah Scrap pays $10-$14 per 100 pounds of metal, Ellis said.
"Usually, the average car brings in three [hundred] to 450 bucks," he said. "It's the quickest $400 you could make."
On Wednesday afternoon, an old blue Volvo was picked up by the grappling hook of a crane, swung over to a baler, where it was placed inside and flattened. When it was hauled back out, it was roughly the dimensions of a coffin -- about 7 feet by 3 feet.
Materials crushed in Edinburg are then trucked to Smith & Son sites in Baltimore or Capital Heights, Md., Ellis said. There they are shredded and then taken to mills for recycling, Wotring said.
He said the shredder is able to separate items like insulation and plastic from the metal, and those are then taken to landfills.
Potential customers can call to have items they have lying around, such as junk cars, stoves, refrigerators or washing machines, picked up.
"We will not turn anything down," Ellis said. "When a dealership says, 'No, we can't take this vehicle,' there's always a place for it."
Before a car is crushed, Wotring said, it is searched to make sure the battery has been removed and no fuel is in the tank.
The location will hurt the Shenandoah County Landfill some because people will drop off their appliances and other metal items there, skipping the dump entirely, said landfill operations manager Brad Dellinger. The county is one of Shenandoah Scrap Metal's clients, though.
"They picked a good spot," Dellinger said. "We take our batteries and stuff there because it's close."
Appliances dropped at the landfill go to another recycling company, he said, but he is looking into taking more items to Shenandoah Scrap.
"Whoever pays the most gets the prize, I guess," Dellinger said.
Any time more items are recycled, the county benefits, County Administrator Doug Walker said.
"We are in the recycling business because, one, we have a state mandate that we have to meet, and it's a service we provide obviously to reduce our flow in the landfill," he said.
The state requires that 25 percent of the county's solid waste flow is recycled, Walker said.