Enter a company like Greenstream Recycling.
All one has to do is go into the processing building on Elliston Drive and it becomes apparent the large impact recycling can play on the environment.
Tony Dietz has seen the impact — both environmentally and economically — and has taken that vision to build a thriving company that helps other companies use all the advantages recycling can offer.
Greenstream recently had a “Customer Appreciation Day,” serving refreshments and celebrating the holidays.
Dietz said the company started in April 2009, in Athens.
“We started small with myself and my business partner, John Corker, and started recycling a few odd things,” Dietz said.
He had come to the new venture with a background in the process, having worked for another company.
“When the economy tanked in 2008, it left me without a job — along with a lot of other people,” Dietz said. “But I wasn’t ready to get out of the recycling business.”
Greenstream mainly caters to corporate customers and not to the public.
“I don’t know about expanding services to the public is in the future or not, because our main focus is on the manufacturers,” he said.
Greenstream gives these companies a way to recycle almost any material they currently use — cardboard, bottles, cans, electronics and scrap metal.
Dietz said the services the business provides almost makes it a “necessary company.”
“If you have a waste stream and are having to pay a certain amount to get rid of your waste, and you can divert a big portion of that waste to be recycled, even if there’s no rebate, you still save on what you would have to spend on a landfill,” he said. “Our existence is a necessary function in the manufacturing world.”
He said they try to do it a little differently than other recyclers.
“Our focus is on service,” Dietz said. “We understand the manufacturers and their needs, and we are all the time looking for different ways to recycle materials.”
Dietz said a company could call and say it has an obsolete inventory of cardboard it won’t be able to use.
“They might ask if instead of bailing it and going through all that process, could they ‘just load it on a truck and send it over?’” he said. “Our answer would be, ‘Yes, and we can also pay you for it.’”
He said in 2011 Greenstream outgrew the original warehouse in Athens and moved to a bigger one.
“We also purchased this property, the former Allied Dealers plant, renovated it, and added equipment,” he said. “We really didn’t have a lot of processing capabilities in Athens. But here in Cleveland we can process and bail and do a lot of plastics grinding.”
He said the company processes almost 1,200 tons a month and said recycling is on the rise.
“There is a big push right now to keep tons of waste out of the landfills,” Dietz said. “There are a lot of different ways that can be done. Companies are looking for more and more ways to get to a higher percentage of recycling as possible. They want to get as landfill-free as they possibly can and we are partnering with them to do that.”
He said keeping the local environment clean is of special importance. Dietz currently serves on the Cleveland/Bradley County Keep America Beautiful board.
“I live here. I drink the water here. I want to work here. It’s a blessing we are here and I do not ever take that for granted,” Dietz said.