River City Recycling continues to grow

River City Recycling buys and sells scrap metal, everything from aluminum cans and used cast iron to electronics and automobiles.

The company processes almost 112 million pounds of scrap metal a year. Its recycled materials are sold to steel mills and aluminum smelters.

“They make the recycled material into a new product,” said company President Mathew Appelget. “Take aluminum cans, for instance. We clean and package them and then they go to an aluminum mill where they are melted down and made into aluminum sheets that are then made into aluminum siding.”

The company recycles all ferrous and nonferrous metals, including aluminum, brass, copper, lead, zinc, steel and appliances as well as nonmetals, such as bottles, cardboard, electronic scrap and bathtubs.

It has three locations in the Richmond area that include its headquarters on School Street, a walk-up location in Manchester and a commercial-industrial location in Chesterfield County. The company opened its fourth location in August at St. Stephens Church in King and Queen County.

“Our goal was always to have a multifacility outlet,” Appelget said. “We like the rural footprint format. We would like to open another location in a rural area, but we haven’t targeted that area.”

The company has retail customers as well as commercial recycling customers, such as institutions, private companies, property owners, industrial companies and developers.

Commercial customers include the Virginia Department of Transportation, aluminum sheet manufacturer Aleris and Virginia Commonwealth University.

“We also work with a lot of demolition contractors,” Appelget said. “For example, all of the metal from the Lombardy Street bridge replacement on I-95 in downtown Richmond came to River City.”

Jordan Starbuck, assistant director of sustainability at VCU, is impressed with the company’s accessibility.

“Any needs we have are met,” she said. “It has been seamless. They are on call 24 hours a day, whenever we need them, even on a weekend. They are easily accessible up to the president.”

River City is a subsidiary of River City Recycling Holdings, owned by Michigan-based BlackEagle Partners investment company. The company opened its first yard, on School Street in Richmond in January 2012.

“The almost 5-acre property was zoned heavy industrial. It had been the home of a specialized metal recycler in urban Richmond,” said Appelget. “At the same time, one of the largest scrap-management companies in Richmond was downsizing its Richmond operation. We decided the property seemed like a great opportunity. We thought it was an opportune time.”

The company’s revenue has risen 10 percent year to date over the same period in 2013. It projects it will handle 89 million pounds of just steel, light iron and other ferrous metals, including automobiles, in 2014. That projection doesn’t include copper, aluminum and all other nonferrous metals.

Any scrap metal bought has to be reported to the Richmond Police Department each day.

Brian Zickafoose, director of business development and innovative pursuits at RJ Smith Materials, a construction company in Chesterfield, works with River City on steel recycling.

“They are very customer-oriented,” Zickafoose said. “We team up with them on a regular basis.”

The company keeps its sites clean of debris, he adds.

“We see them all the time cleaning the front area of their business. In other metals recycling places, you can expect to get your tires punctured from shards of steel,” he said. “River City keeps things clean.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch. Used by permission.