LONDON (Reuters) - UK-based junk removal firm AnyJunk pays its collection teams a bonus for the metal they can separate for sale to scrap merchants to help cut its disposal costs and boost profits.
Chief Executive Jason Mohr told Reuters that part of AnyJunk's ethos was to encourage recycling wherever possible, with about 79 percent of all materials it collects avoiding landfill through reuse or recycling.
"Disposing of waste to landfill is bad for the environment and expensive, so the more we can divert by recycling or reuse, the better," Mohr said late last week.
"Separating scrap metal from the junk we collect is particularly beneficial, because it not only reduces our waste bill but also generates extra income. We give our collection crews 35 percent of that extra cash as a bonus. It's a good motivation and makes good business sense for us."
Scrap merchants around the world are clamouring for material to recycle, given record high prices of industrial metals such as copper, which hit $10,190 (6,300 pounds) a tonne on the London Metal Exchange in February.
AnyJunk's main source of income is charging its clients to clear and dispose of bulky waste.
Overall it earns about 5 million pounds a year. About 5 percent of that comes from selling on the junk, and about half of that is accounted for by scrap metal.
"It's not massive, but it is a relevant part of our business," Mohr said.
"We're a bit like a skip on wheels but more flexible and with a greener focus. Each truck has two crew members who do all the loading and sweep up for you, and we charge according to the space taken up."
AnyJunk's clients include householders, office managers, building contractors, housing associations, commercial landlords and estate agents. "Basically anyone with stuff to get rid of that is too big for their regular bin collection," Mohr said.
Each of AnyJunk's 10 depots across the UK contains an area for storing reusables and recyclables, including metal.
AnyJunk stores ferrous metal such as broken filing cabinets separately from non-ferrous metals such as copper cable, lead piping and brass taps.
Other materials that it recycles include textiles, books, furniture, wood and electrical appliances.
"The rates scrap merchants pay vary month on month according to demand. Currently copper and aluminium pays about 1,000 pounds per tonne and mixed light iron around 160 pounds a tonne," Mohr said.
Mohr, a former investment banker, launched AnyJunk in October 2004, and the company now claims to the UK's largest rubbish clearance business.
Editing by Jane Baird