There’s a great deal of money in metals for Hoosiers, in more ways than commonly thought. Indiana is well known as a major location for primary metals production, but the recycling side of the industry has been gaining strength lately too as more metal purchasers seek out sustainable alternatives. Lately, companies involved in scrap recycling have been expanding their capabilities to meet the increased demand for reclaimed material.
$340M Investment in E-waste Recycling
E-waste is a unique aspect of the metals recycling industry that’s growing in Indiana. E-waste includes waste materials from electronic products like computers, phones, televisions, or basically anything else with circuit components inside of them. There is a surprising amount of valuable metal inside these items. They are found in small quantities per device, but millions of tons of e-waste are thrown away each year. Copper, silver, gold, platinum, and quite a few other metals can be recycled.
Exurban is one e-waste recycling company that’s making big moves in Indiana currently. They are a firm based in the United Kingdom that plans to create up to 200 new jobs by the end of 2026 in Allen County, IN. Exurban is establishing its first U.S.-based facility with a $340 million investment.
State officials have said the new site will “set new standards in environmental performance,” by reclaiming copper, gold, and silver discarded electronic appliances using sustainable methods. Presently, much of the e-waste produced in the U.S. either ends up in a landfill or is shipped to other countries for scrap recycling. Millions of tons of electronic waste are disposed of every year, and it’s often hazardous for animals, humans, and the environment.
“Exurban will create the first zero waste smelter that will generate significant economic impacts throughout the region for generations,” said Governor Eric Holcomb.
“We are excited to announce the site of the world’s first zero waste smelter refinery to offer a domestic, low carbon solution to the global challenge of e-waste,” said Jean Paul Deco, co-founder of Exurban USA. “We are delighted with the welcome we have been given in Indiana, and I am proud that the plant we are announcing will set new standards in recycling critical metals from discarded waste streams.”
The state of Indiana is supporting Exurban with $2.5 million in incentive-based tax credits and up to $200,000 in conditional training grants through the IEDC. Exurban is set to begin construction in 2023 on 77 acres located at the Adams Township Industrial Park.
350M Pounds of Scrap Annually
MetalX, a Fort Wayne-based scrap metals recycler, recently acquired the assets and business operations of Wabash-based SRT Aluminum.
MetalX is an independent scrap metals recycling business that processes about 200 million pounds of nonferrous scrap annually (nonferrous refers to metals other than iron or steel). The company purchases scrap from industrial firms, suppliers, and the public and transform the materials into the recycled copper, stainless steel, and aluminum.
For some time, MetalX officials have said the company has been looking to expand its aluminum melting capabilities. The acquisition of SRT Aluminum fits that initiative, as SRT processes aluminum scrap into remelted scrap ingots that come in various forms.
“We view aluminum melting as a valuable and complementary addition to our scrap business and see tremendous potential to grow the business, including new projects to increase capacity,” said Neal Rifkin, executive vice president of MetalX.
SRT uses electric induction and reverb furnaces to produce about 150 million pounds of remelted aluminum every year. The company operates on a 40-acre site where they also shred and turn aluminum materials.
The acquisition of SRT Aluminum comes only a few months after MetalX relocated its headquarters from Waterloo, IN to Fort Wayne after it had sold its ferrous metals business to BlueScope, an Australian firm. Fort Wayne was chosen, in part, because of MetalX’s nonferrous growth strategy.
The newly combined businesses of MetalX and SRT Aluminum are expected to process more than 350 million pounds of nonferrous scrap annually.
Pounds in Pockets
Every pound of recycled metals these companies recycle puts money right into Hoosier pockets, and that’s a great thing for Indiana employees. The best part is that, in many ways, this will be money from nothing. By keeping these metals out of the waste pile, these firms are providing sustainable options for consumers and solid job opportunities for workers. It’s a big win for Indiana and a good strategy for environmental initiatives.
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