business profile

River Metals Recycling — No Green to Be Seen. But It's There.

River Metals Recycling Looking over River Metals Recycling's Louisville processing yard on Upper River Road on a gray winter day, hardly a speck of green can be seen. Rather, row after row of old and wrecked automobiles are being shredded. Bales of aluminum are being stacked. Tons of metal scrap are being separated into ferrous and nonferrous piles. There are even train boxcars being crushed. All the while, a middle-aged woman is unloading black garbage bags bulging with empty drink cans from the rear of her mini-van to turn them into cash.

And yet, in the midst of this grey, black and brown landscape, green is all around. "Green", that is, as in environmentally conscious and in full compliance with all environmental regulations and is ISO 14001:2004 registered. RMR's ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditations validate the company's overall environmental compliance, based on a rigorous evaluation of all the quality systems, as performed by an independent auditor.

Every year, River Metal Recycling processes over 1,000,000 tons of ferrous scrap and 100,000,000 pounds of nonferrous scrap. That's a lot of metal that is recycled back into raw materials for re-melting at steel mills and foundries - averting tons of greenhouse gases, saving enough electricity to power thousands of homes, and conserving limited natural resources of iron ore, coal and bauxite.

River Metals Recycling's plant sits back and to the west of Spring River Office Park on the riverside of River Road, across from the Louisville Soccer Park. It -- along with nine other RMR processing yards in Kentucky, Illinois and Ohio -- make RMR the largest scrap processor in the region.

Employing about 150 workers, the Louisville operation is committed to supplying its customers with products processed to the highest standards of quality, safety and environmental consciousness. "It's one big cycle," explains Louisville General Manager Neal Coulardot. "We purchase metal scrap of all kinds, separate it using the highest tech metal analyzers and processing equipment, verify that our product meets an exacting commodity specification, and then ship it out for use as raw material in industrial manufacturing." On the front end, RMR's customers include manufacturers such as Ford, Voss Clark and GE that provide large volumes of scrap as well as individuals looking to properly recycle cars, cans and other obsolete objects that contain metals and make a little money.

On the back end of the cycle, River Metal Recycling consumers use the recycled metals in new manufacturing. These include steel companies and foundries which then produce usable materials for auto, appliance and aluminum can manufacturers. "The aluminum can is 100 percent recyclable," says Coulardot, "and it can be recycled indefinitely, using 90-95 percent less energy than aluminum produced from bauxite ore." He explains that the aluminum can is the most valuable container to recycle and is the most recycled consumer product in the U.S. "We make it easy to drop off cans and we pay top dollar for cans brought into our facility."

According to Coulardot, one key to the company's success is its location on the Ohio River. "About 90 percent of our product is shipped out of here on barges," explains Coulardot. "It comes in on trucks and trains, but mostly leaves by the river." The Louisville processing yard also benefits from its central location with easy access to all the major interstates serving the area. Plus a rail line runs right into the property.

The operation may look like your standard scrap metal processor at first glance, but it is definitely not. In fact, RMR has pioneered technology that ensures the lowest residual shredded products, which means the highest quality output for customers. It also has earned (and must continually earn) its ISO 9001 designation proving that the company is engaged in ongoing efforts continually to improve its operations and provide its clients with quality products and services.

River Metals Recycling takes seriously its role as a leader in scrap recycling, providing community awareness and student education, implementing new and more efficient technologies, providing a safe environment for its workers and customers and charging forth in its efforts to be as "green" as possible.

Promoting vitality along Louisville's River Road - from Cox Park to Slugger Field
Copyright © 2012 River Road Business Association. All rights reserved.