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Trio starts appliance recycling

The company's dozen workers keep metals and hazardous materials out of landfills

The heavy metal once dumped into landfills has now given way to recycling. Out of sight is no longer out of mind.

But what to do with all those washers and dryers when they've been repaired beyond their original price?

Seeing the need, David Hilde, Tom Bush and Dan Lee matched past experience with present need for what could provide a nice payoff.

For a start-up cost of &

36;10,000 last winter, American Appliance Recyclers Inc. was launched, occupying the former ABC Recycling of Southern Oregon site at 2645 Ave. G in White City. The lot includes 2&

189; acres of asphalt and buildings.

Hilde, a semi-retired U.S. Postal Service contractor from Central Point with experience in the construction field, is the company's chief executive. Tom Bush is vice president and got into the recycling field during his six-year stint with Pathway Enterprises and its predecessor, Southern Oregon Training and Habilitation (SOTH). Dan Lee is the general manager, overseeing a staff of more than a dozen, including several disabled workers as part of an agreement with Pathway.

This has kind of been a dream of mine for a long, long time, Bush says. I saw a real need in the valley when I was at SOTH and we started doing recycling there in a small scale with two clients.

The scope of American Appliance Recyclers is far greater.

American Appliance Recyclers takes dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioners, washers, dryers, heat pumps, televisions, stereos, computers, copiers and fax machines, among other items.

The firm has contracted to recycle appliances from Larson's Superstores, West Coast Appliances, Ashland Sanitary and Rogue Disposal, as well as Medford's public works department, the Commission for the Blind, the Veteran Affairs Domiciliary and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The company handles Goodwill's appliance recycling in six counties from Eugene to Yreka, Calif. Through Goodwill, it handles Sears trade-ins.

Private parties can pay &

36;20 for curbside pick-up.

AAR's employees dismantle appliances, removing motors, wiring and aluminum. Bush says the company is now the top ferrous and nonferrous metals provider for neighboring metal recycler Schnitzer Steel.

We're doing really well and right around the corner from turning a profit, Bush says.

Wayne Kauzlarich, a Department of Environmental Quality technical assistant who helps businesses deal with hazardous waste, says the recycling company popped up in the right place at the right time.

Our goal is keeping out materials that aren't real good for the landfill, Kauzlarich says. We're trying to encourage businesses and households to recycle lead, mercury, copper and things like computer monitors that have a lot of lead.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

Richard Wise of Medford dismantles an old washing machine at American Appliance Recyclers Inc. in White City. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven