The students, Dylan Gregory of South Kingstown and Cory Harrigan of Narragansett, call their company Scrap Specialists Recycling, which has an office at 386 South Pier Rd., Narragansett. They invested their own money to purchase 12 dumpsters of various sizes and contracted with several vendors that pay the students in return for the recyclables they collect.
“We both had a pre-existing passion for environmental issues, and when we took a class on energy economics, we saw that there was a lot of opportunity for energy savings through recycling,” Gregory said. “Recycling is something that needs to be done, and people shouldn’t be charged for it.”
Beginning last fall, Gregory and Harrigan tested the waters by partnering with Crown Collision, a successful auto body business with offices in three locations in Rhode Island. The students dropped off a dumpster at each location and instructed company personnel to toss in all of their recyclables – paper, boxes, plastics, auto parts and scrap metal. When the dumpster is full, the students remove and sort the materials, bail them, and vendors haul the bails away.
“Crown Collision previously had to pay a monthly fee for dumpsters as well as a tipping fee each time the dumpsters had to be emptied, but now we have our dumpsters there, empty them as needed, and don’t charge them anything,” said Gregory. “They’re saving $200 to $400 per month per location, and we make our money by selling the recyclable materials.”
The success of their first efforts led them to solicit other automotive companies.
“We see great potential with the automotive industry,” Gregory said. “As far as I know, we’re the only company targeting them and the only ones handling all the recyclables in one container at no cost to them.”
The company now has a half dozen customers, and everything they earn is invested back into the business to purchase additional dumpsters.
“Once we get 30 or 40 customers, we’ll have more capital to work with and be able to pay ourselves a little something,” said Gregory.
Harrigan is studying abroad in New Zealand this semester, where Gregory said he is finding some great new ideas and different ways of thinking about recycling, especially about the composting of food waste. That’s an idea that Gregory took to local farmers, and together they are exploring how best to launch a local food composting initiative at URI.
The students’ company is a labor of love for both Gregory and Harrigan, and they hope it will turn into full-time jobs for them both when they graduate.
“I love getting in the dumpster and sorting recyclables,” Gregory said. “I absolutely love what I do.”
Companies interested in contracting with Scrap Specialists Recycling can contact Gregory at 401-633-4112 or Dylan@scrapspecialists.com
Dylan Gregory (left) and Cory Harrigan