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Alter Trading: 125 years in business – ‘fascinating and rewarding’

In honour of Recycling International’s 25th anniversary, we are spotlighting leading industry players over the coming months. This time, it’s Alter Trading, which celebrates 125 of being in business.

‘I have had an amazing career in the materials recycling industry – from the East Coast to the West then to mid-America and around the globe,’ says Alter Trading ceo Jay Robinovitz with great enthusiasm. ‘It has been fascinating, rewarding and challenging.’

Discussing significant milestones, he believes Alter Trading celebrating 125 years in scrap is a milestone in itself.  ‘Being a private company, with a team of fantastic employees, many who have been with the Alter family for decades, and now a fifth generation of family leadership at the ready is just fantastic. I’m proud of our team.’

Flipping through the pages of recycling history, Robinovitz ponders what has changed. ‘We’ve gone from small mom and pop operations – many still thriving in our cities – to the growth of large publicly traded recycling companies. The industry became more and more a manufacturing business.’

He says technology drives Alter Trading’s operations and he is eager to make great strides in reducing its environmental footprint. ‘We have always invested for the long term and doing so makes us look forward with excitement for what the next challenge will be.’

In the short term, this means a continued focus on post-shredder material recovery facilities, new plants, and investment in existing facilities and equipment. ‘This year we also plan to continue to expand solar power generation at as many of our facilities as possible.’

Robinovitz describes integrity as being the foundation of the company’s overall goals. ‘We work hard to maintain a high level of customer and supplier contact, knowing that we want to do the right thing. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only minutes to ruin one.’

While he acknowledges no one has a crystal ball, one thing that he is sure of is that the industry will see more automation, use of robotics, and an ever more granular process to recover metals that may currently be lost.

‘Plastics will have its day as well and when the economics become more favourable I think it will open up an entirely new set of opportunities.’

Be sure not to miss our next anniversary issue >>

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