LANCASTER, Calif. – Some recyclers say their industry is struggling.
Pacific Auto Recycling Center takes apart cars, radiators, air conditioning units, and more. They sell the salvageable parts and mounds of metal left over.
Robert Hall is president of the center, which opened its doors in 2017.
“We take big pieces of metal and turn them into little pieces of metal,” explained Hall.
The small pieces of shredded metal get shipped overseas to be melted and reused.
But with talks of a trade war and tariffs, scrap metal isn’t selling like it used to.
Retired Army veteran Robert Robertson recycles at the Pacific Auto Recycling Center every week. He’s on a fixed income so every little bit helps, but it’s becoming a smaller and smaller bit.
He feels like he’s doing a salary-worthy public service.
“People like me, scrappers, we’re really helping them out keeping the streets clean, keeping the neighborhood clean. They should be paying us!” said Robertson.
The metal market is just one of Hall’s concerns.
To get the scrap as small as possible, Hall uses a metal shredder. New rules could be coming down the pike that might ultimately cost him a lot of money to keep using the shredder.
Senate Bill 1249 led the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to look into the risks posed by metal shredding facilities. It also allows them to take action.
Hall worries about the people at DTSC.
“Man I don’t think these people know what they’re doing. I mean I hate to be so critical and say that they don’t know what they’re doing, I just don’t think they understand the impact that this is going to have,” said Hall.
Hall says it might get too expensive to stay in business.
Pacific Auto Recycling Center wouldn’t be the first recycling operation to close in recent times. One of the state’s biggest recyclers, RePlanet, closed earlier this year.
“I believe, I hate to say it, it’s a season of struggle for the industry, but this can lead easily into prosperity,” said Hall.
The future of metal recycling might be dull now; Hall hopes the luster returns.