Better Business Challenge Helps Company Make Money By Recycling - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Better Business Challenge Helps Company Make Money By Recycling

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Virginia Eagle Distributing Virginia Eagle Distributing

This year's Better Business Challenge is well underway, urging Charlottesville area companies and nonprofits to go green and save some cash.

A big winner from the past is sweeping the competition again. It's a business that's making money from recycling.

Virginia Eagle Distributing was a "Top Innovator" during the last Better Business Challenge, and it's a returning "MVP" business. The company is an Anheuser-Busch distributor and with six warehouses across the region packed with cases of beverages, there's a lot to recycle.

Now with a new piece of equipment they're not only saving money on recyclable materials, they're making a profit.

Employees say in the past, all of their cardboard and plastic went to the landfill. Now with the new compactors, recyclable materials get compressed and sent off to a recycling center.

"We are committed to making the world a better place where we can and this is just a small project, it's not anything that's revolutionary, it's something that's been done before," said Brad Theado, the vice president of operations. "The challenge gave us an idea: instead of just recycling cardboard, to also recycle plastic," he said. "We had no idea that it would add up to the volume it did."

Since installing the compactors, Virginia Eagle has cut its trash service by about 50 percent, saving them a couple hundred dollars each month. In addition to those savings, the company also gets paid for the recycled products, which becomes an income stream for the company. The company makes $120 for each ton of plastic and $80 for each ton of cardboard.

"We are very committed to being a green company and recycling as much product as we possibly can," Theado said.

One of the biggest benefits, Theado said, is that the company didn't have to purchase a compactor that costs about $10,000. Instead, the recycling company provides the compactor and the money Virginia Eagle makes from their recycled materials goes toward paying it off. The company expects to have it paid off in one year.

Virginia Eagle also helps its customers recycle by bringing their unneeded plastic and cardboard back to the warehouses and recycling it for them. There are also bins throughout the warehouses to make it easy for Virginia Eagle employees to recycle.

Theado estimates his company has been able to keep approximately 156,000 pounds of trash out of the landfill this year using the compactors. He said they hope to add the compactor to a sixth location in 2014, at which point all warehouses in the region would have one.

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