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Waste Management buys construction recycling firm

By Sean Ryan

Waste Management’s buyout of City Wide Recycling LLC won’t save Milwaukee-area contractors any money when they recycle construction debris.

Milwaukee-based City Wide, which opened in October 2006, is the only business in the Milwaukee area that sorts construction debris and sells the material for reuse.

“It is more expensive, but it’s also convenient,” said Jenna Kunde, executive director of WasteCap Resource Solutions Inc., Milwaukee. “So it depends on what the builder wants to do.”

With City Wide, contractors pay extra for the convenience of putting all debris in one Dumpster and letting City Wide do the separating at its Milwaukee operation. The cheapest option for builders is to separate metal, wood, plastic and other recyclables on site, Kunde said. Builders then can sell the material to recyclers.

“I think from builders’ perspective,” Kunde said, “what tends to be the most expensive option is to put everything into the landfill. It’s about the same — or it might be a little cheaper, I don’t know what the economics are right now — to go to City Wide Recycling.”

Officials with Waste Management, which is based in Houston, do not foresee any changes to City Wide’s prices, said spokeswoman Lynn Morgan. Morgan said the deal to acquire the company, which was announced Friday, gives Waste Management the opportunity to broaden its services.

“We see construction and demolition recycling only continuing to grow,” she said.

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