Portland Store Fixtures markets recycling service
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Kat Schon and Penney Stephenson launched NW Retail Recyclers this year, sending the message to store owners that they can take used fixtures off their hands and keep them out of the landfill.
They should know, they've been doing it for 12 years.
The warehouse of Southeast Portland-based Portland Store Fixtures, the parent company of NW Retail Reyclers, has grown into a 44,000-square-foot empire of used retail equipment — a wonderland for everyone from bargain hunting business owners to artists. It's also a very efficient system for landfill diversion.
"We do an audit of the waste stream of a retail store," Schon said. "Then we'll show them how to divert 90 percent of it."
While recycling is often the low-hanging fruit for corporate sustainability programs, what to do with unusual items often poses a problem.
NW Retail Recyclers will make regular pickups from store-owning customers. What they can sell or otherwise reuse goes into the warehouse, what they can't, they recycle.
The fee for the service depends on the store's size and needs — a one-time pick-up or an ongoing recycling service — but Schon said it runs about 30 percent less than dumpster fees which can range as high as $1,000 per month.
Retailers such as Nordstrom and Powell's use the service and Schon said she hopes to expand it to ever bigger stores and even shopping mall managers.
"We're pretty heavy on the green thing," said Christopher Duke, transportation service manager for Powell's. "When they pick it up I know, in good faith, that it will be broken down and reused or recycled."
Portland Store Fixtures had $1 million in revenue last year and has 12 employees.
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