Dan Brown is helping to save the planet.
As owner of Metal Recovery Systems LLC, he collects metal products, including scrap metal, appliances, machinery, and equipment, and delivers it to a junk yard, where it is targeted for recycling. Preventing these items from adding to the mass of debris in overflowing landfills is an enormous contribution to a healthier, safer, and more sustainable environment.
Born and brought up in Princeton, Mr. Brown has worked as a superintendent in several buildings, and as he says, “I saw a lot of stuff lying around that people didn’t know what to do with. I realized that there could be a business in collecting it, especially with builders and plumbers. They often have to get rid of water heaters, cast iron tubs, and other metal objects and appliances.”
In January 2012, he opened Metal Recovery Systems LLC, which is headquartered in Princeton.
It’s a simple plan, with significant and far-reaching consequences. “The way it works is that individual homeowners or business people call ahead — 24 hours notice is helpful — to let me know they have items to be picked up,” explains Mr. Brown. “I go to their location, collect what they have, and when I have filled up my truck, I take everything to an area junk yard. They weigh the truck with the contents on a giant scale, and I am paid according to the weight. Cast iron items are separated, also copper and brass, because these bring higher prices.”
The collection is free of charge to Princeton residents and businesses who provide the discarded items. There is a nominal charge to cover gas for clients in the surrounding area, says Mr. Brown. A typical job takes a half hour to pick up the items. It is a year-round business. “As long as I can get the truck on the road, we’re good to go,” he adds, with a smile.
Items include a wide array of metal objects. Appliances of all kinds — stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, and toasters; also floor and table lamps, outdoor products, such as lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and yard tools, including power tools, are all collected.
“We will even take junked cars, also steel shelving and cabinets, as well as electronics and IT equipment containing both metal and plastic, such as computers, TVs, cell phones, iPods and gaming consoles,” points out Mr. Brown. “Large metal-based items, including furnaces and old farm equipment are other products, and we also collect copper wires and pipes, brass pipes, and plumbing fixtures.
“I find unusual things too: for example, a golf cart,” he continues. “People accumulate many things over the years, and some of the customers are people who are moving and cleaning out. They have been really receptive. They get to clean out their house, I take it away free of charge, and it’s getting recycled.”
A win-win prospect, for sure.
Mr. Brown’s focus is Princeton and Mercer County, but he has also collected items in other areas of central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The business has grown steadily, he reports, and he has many repeat customers and lots of referrals.
“Businesses, especially plumbers and builders, are my primary source, and I have also worked with restaurants as well as lots of homeowners.”
Occasionally, Mr. Brown finds items that he likes and decides to keep, such as a vintage, handsomely crafted metal bucket and a brass mortar and pestle from a pharmacy of long ago. “When it can be salvaged, sometimes I can give an item a second life myself.”
Mr. Brown is proud of the work his company is doing to help the environment. “Our primary goal is to work with corporations, small business owners, and our fellow American citizens to continually push the percentages of metals that are recycled higher with each passing year, hoping one day to reach a level of 95 percent of all metals being recycled.”
He also wants clients to know that they will receive an Accredited Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emmission Reduction Certification when he picks up their material.
“Whether we remove a washing machine from your house, or many thousands of pounds of scrap from your factory each month, Metal Recovery Systems issues you a signed and sealed certificate that legally accredits the GHG Emission Reduction Credit to your business or family.
“When you work with Metal Recovery Systems to have your metal recovered by us directly from your business location, residence, school, or your company worksite, this planet-friendly greenhouse gas reducing efficiency allows for tremendous reductions in carbon emissions when compared to recovering metals further down the waste stream. It’s just one more example of Smart Sustainability in action.
“As the owner/operator of this business, I work hand-in-hand with the community to build relationships. It’s been a challenge and an adventure. I’m having fun and the satisfaction that I’m helping to dispose of metal garbage in a responsible fashion and avoid having the material sit in landfills indefinitely.
“I hope to see the company grow and to have an even bigger customer base. I have two trucks now, and eventually, I’d like a fleet of trucks!
“It’s important to build trust,” he continues. “I’m a member of the community. This is my town. I’ve been a volunteer fireman for 12 years. What I hope for is to develop the reputation in town that when someone needs to have metal products removed, they call Dan. They will know that he gets the job done well, and is courteous and responsible.”
Metal Recovery Systems is available Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (609) 577-2396. Website: www.metalreco.com.