Back in the 1920s, Morris Olgin began collecting scrap and selling it to dealers in Erie, Pa. Now in its ninth decade, Phoenix-based Liberty Iron & Metal Holdings, LLC and its affiliated entities are among the leading processors and brokers of ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals in North America.
Through various mergers and joint venture agreements, the company has thrived even during the recession by investing in technologies to grow its metal scrap recycling business. Corporate headquarters is now located at 2144 W. McDowell Road in Phoenix, home of its Liberty Iron & Metal Southwest LLC yard.
Make no mistake; the recycling industry is vibrant and growing in the United States. More than 130 million metric tons of scrap metal, paper, plastic, glass, textiles, rubber and electronics valued at more than $77 billion were processed in the US, according to the latest figures compiled by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). This ‘feedstock’ was exported to industrial customers in more than 155 countries.
Steel (ferrous scrap) is the most recycled material both in the US and worldwide; in 2010, the US processed more than 74 million metric tons of ferrous scrap, according to ISRI. Non-ferrous scrap-which includes copper, aluminum, lead, nickel, tin, zinc and others—totaled 8 million metric tons processed in 2010, according to ISRI.
The family name is still pre-dominant at Liberty. Jerry Olgin started working alongside father Morris and is now company Chairman. Marc Olgin is CEO while Steve Olgin serves as Executive VP and General Counsel. In July of 2007, Liberty Iron formed a joint venture with Scholz AG of Essingen, Germany. Liberty and Scholz continue to pursue strategic investment and growth opportunities in North America. With their extensive array of equipment, Liberty is capable of processing in excess of 60,000 tons of ferrous and non-ferrous material every month at its various facilities across the country.
Each of Liberty’s affiliated companies is an experienced, multi-generational family owned and operated business. Besides the Phoenix yard, Liberty Iron & Metal Holdings LLC operates the following facilities:
* Niles Iron & Metal Company LLC, Niles, OH
* Diamond Hurwitz Scrap LLC, Buffalo, NY
* Interstate Shredding LLC, Girard, OH
* Liberty Iron & Metal LLC, Erie, PA
* Premier Metals Group LCC, Rochester, NY
* Mercer Company, Sharon, PA
* Kalischatarra S de RL de CV, Chihuahua, Mexico
Liberty produces high-quality ferrous scrap for its steelmaking and foundry customers. Consumer scrap items such as old automobiles and appliances and industrial scrap are received, tested, sorted, processed at Liberty’s various facilities and returned to the new metal manufacturing process.
Likewise, the company handles a variety of nonferrous scrap, including aluminum, copper, brass, lead, nickel, stainless and high-temperature alloys to support the diverse needs of its domestic and international customers. Liberty’s nonferrous warehouse facilities purchase old nonferrous scrap metal from private, commercial and other sources, as well as new nonferrous scrap from industrial customers’ production and machine processing operations.
Investing in People and Equipment
Running a profitable operation from scrap products takes an investment in recycling equipment that can sort out the precious ferrous and non-ferrous materials once the in-coming scrap goes through a shredding process. The variety of recycling machines stationed throughout each Liberty yard can sort shredded scrap as big as your fist or as small as 1” in diameter (called fines). These state-of-the art machines not only recover high-grade material, but also reduce hand picking, saving time and labor.
Liberty’s facilities can contain any number of recycling equipment, including Rare Earth drum magnets, eddy current separators, metal sorters with multiple discharge chutes, high-speed conveyors, even metal detectors. The majority of the recycling equipment is supplied by Eriez Magnetics, based in Erie, PA. The two companies have a 30+ year relationship.
The Eriez/Liberty association has flourished over the years into a close, unique and mutually beneficial partnership. Now, when Eriez develops new equipment for the recycling industry, Liberty is one of the first scrap yards to test the equipment and fine tune it. Eriez’ engineers get immediate feedback from the Liberty scrap yard operators and can tinker with new products before bringing them to market.
Besides working closely with suppliers such as Eriez, Liberty builds partnerships with regional and national customers, such as metal smelters. Liberty ships throughout North America by rail, with most of its yards having rail access, and exports its processed metals globally.
For more information about Liberty Iron & Metal Holdings LLC and its affiliated operations, visit www.libertyiron.com.