TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- One person's trash is another one's treasure. That couldn't be more true at Triad Recycling and Energy Inc., where they take materials that would otherwise go into a landfill and turn them into new uses.
Retirement usually means relaxing and doing the things you weren't able to do while you were working. For John Hannon and his partners, it meant starting a new business.
"We basically find a lot of people want to do the right thing, but there's no outlet," said John Hannon, one of the partners of Triad Recycling and Energy Inc.
That's why after retiring from Dupont, where they helped convert the Western New York facility into a no-landfill plant, they decided to use that knowledge to help other companies recycle more. Four and 1/2 years ago, they started Triad Recycling and Energy.
"The things that we're most aggressive about are things that no one else wants to deal with," said Hannon.
They were also the first company in New York state to recycle mattresses and they have contracts with several hotels and colleges to turn their old beds into better uses. They also recycle shingles, which can be ground down into fuel or an additive to asphalt.
"We have several blacktop companies that buy this and mix it in the blacktop. The Sweet Home schools have all been re-paved using shingles from Western New York," said Hannon.
Triad Recycling has now developed new processes to recycle things you might not otherwise think could be recycled.
"There's a lot in construction that just go to landfill. Drywall was very difficult. It took us three years to develop a drywall process and a market. This is only drywall that's grey. No paint. No contamination. We grind it very fine. Use a magnet to make sure there's no metal in it and then use it for animal bedding. The drywall that came out of HarborCenter downtown is being used for animal bedding around Western New York. After the cows sleep on it for a few days, the drywall as well as the wood chips and manure get put into the field as a soil amendment," said Hannon.
They're still looking to go even greener.
"These processes all use energy, so as our business grows, we are looking at different ways to reduce our environmental footprint, so we've looked at solar. We're looking at wind energy and different ways to power our plant. We've recently converted a lot of our trucks to use natural gas instead of diesel which is much cleaner," said Hannon.
Last year, Triad saved 10,000 tons of materials from going into landfills.
For large construction companies, the fee to recycle is usually considerably less than the fee to dump at a landfill. For individuals, the cost to recycle a mattress is $16.