LIMA – As communities across the country make their best pitches in an effort to attract manufacturing facilities, a Lima firm proudly touts itself as a national leader in the “de-manufacturing” process.
Recleim, a next-generation recycling company with plants in Graniteville, South Carolina, Philadelphia and Lima, prides itself for using state-of-the-art methods to remove 95% of the internal components found in household refrigerators and freezers.
The Lima plant opened three years ago, the culmination of more than a year of work and partnerships between Recleim, JobsOhio, the Allen County Economic Development Group, American Electric Power-Ohio and other Ohio utility companies.
According to Plant Manager Dylan Curtis, the company takes in old refrigerators and freezers that have been acquired by a third party — typically a utility company that offers a rebate to its customers to be used toward the purchase of a new, energy-efficient appliance — and removes all freon gas, compressors, oil, copper and glass.
It is illegal for Reclaim to purchase appliances directly from the public, Curtis said.
While most recycling centers remove only freon gas from used refrigerators — the lone mandate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to recycling appliances — Recleim is “trying to be on the front end of 100% recycling,” Curtis said. “The EPA is going to implement more stringent restrictions at some point, and when they do, we’ll be ahead of the game.”
Recleim’s recycling processes isolate and destroy on-site refrigerants and greenhouse gases trapped in the insulating foam of refrigerating appliances in compliance with standards set forth in the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that calls for the elimination of ozone-depleting substances.
After the “guts” of a refrigerator are removed, materials are sorted by component (steel, copper, plastics) for sale to secondary users.
The company’s warehouse at 1601 E. Fourth St., Lima, currently holds 1,800 refrigerators and freezers awaiting the “shredding” process that separates components. Curtis said the approximately three dozen employees at the plant shred three appliances every four minutes during peak production times.
Winter is a slow time for the company, but when warmer weather arrives, the plant will operate two shifts daily.
Curtis started his career with the company five years ago at Recleim’s flagship facility in South Carolina and worked his way up the ranks, ultimately accepting a transfer to the new Ohio plant.
Except for the winter weather, Curtis has found Lima very much to his liking.
He is also proud to be affiliated with a company that takes seriously its role in safeguarding the environment.
“We dispose of everything in a safe manner,” he said.