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From trash to cash

New Ironton facility recycles metal

It used to be if you wanted to recycle metal, you had to haul the load to Ashland, Portsmouth or Huntington. But Ironton now has its own metal recycling center.
Called Ohio Valley Recycling, it is owned by Amy Van Steenburg and her son, Ethan, and located at 475 Commerce Drive.
“We opened up to the public in September,” she said. “We’re doing alright, there is definitely a need and a desire for it here in the Ironton area.”
Van Steenburg hasn’t owned a recycling business before but got into it because of family.
“My husband has done this before but I haven’t,” she said. “It’s my baby. There wasn’t one locally so it seemed like a good business idea.”
Ohio Valley Recycling recycles any type of metal.
Besides steel, copper, aluminum, tin, the company takes items most people might not think about.
“We take screen doors, aluminum or steel siding. Definitely appliances like refrigerators and stoves,” Van Steenburg said. “We buy car parts as scrap, we don’t resell them as car parts. We buy whole cars.”
Once they buy the materials, they send the metal off to other companies.
“We sell it to whoever has the best price,” Van Steenburg said.
Because metal prices can go up or down depending on demand from industries, what they pay for scrap fluctuates.
“Tin and iron are a month to month price but the other metals like brass, copper, and things like that can change in an instant,” Van Steenburg said. “So it’s day to day for those. Especially the tin and iron, the price change can be dramatic with those. It’s about demand, surplus, deficits and things like that. And what is going on in foreign countries.”
She said a demand for metal and its going price is because of foreign countries.
“We’re at the bottom of the ladder” when it comes to supplying recycled metal to industries, Van Steenburg said, but still plays a part in the recycling chain.
“The manufacturing companies, the steel mills, they have a huge need. We get such a small amount of what their demand is nationally or globally. But we are an important part of the process,” she said. “Our customers go out and gather it up, which is good for the environment. It’s better to not leave it sitting in an alley. We gather it up and ship it to one of the market facility.”
That facility gathers metals from a lot of small companies and then they ship it out around the nation and the globe.
Ohio Valley Recycling is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon. They are closed Sunday.