Even a global pandemic can’t stop Sahd Metal Recycling from celebrating Earth Day 2021 with a variety of virtual offerings throughout the week and on Earth Day itself, Thursday, April 22. Scrap News talked to Dan Sahd, co-owner of Sahd Metal Recycling, about the importance of Earth Day and how anyone can participate in the company’s offerings.

Can you tell me about Sahd Metal Recycling’s history and what you do within the industry?

My grandfather Frank and his brothers Charlie and Joe started the company over 70 years ago from the back of a row home in downtown Columbia, Pa. They would buy and sell everything from burlap to antiques to metals and bring back scrap. They did whatever they could to survive, and I admire that hustle and determination so much.

My dad Ron, his brothers Wayne and Frank, and his cousin Mike eventually took over the business. They shifted the focus solely to metal recycling, but they also added trucking to service industrial accounts. My cousin Mike and I represent the third generation. We are heavily focused on providing good service to our industrial accounts and the individual recyclers. Like most scrap dealers in our association, we process metal to sell to mills, foundries, and other end users. True to our founding, we are very close to the process helping our crew sort and clean metal while using our phones to help us run the business. Thankfully, the technology helps us be more mobile.

The company has a variety of offerings for Earth Day 2021. Can you tell me about the activities and how you all decided on them?

We’ve had Earth Day programming for 15 years. This year will be our 16th. Educating our youth has always been our top priority. To reach the youth, their families, and people who influence them, you have to meet them where they are and introduce as much fun as possible. We created an Earth Day Challenge — entrants answer 20 questions on the “reduce, reuse, recycle” theme, then they get a voucher for a sundae from a local ice cream parlor. We are hosting a series of live $50 contests where participants guess the weight of a can bale, the number of can tabs or number of steel slugs. The contests are designed to spark interest in the recycling process. On Thursday, we’re doing a Facebook Live virtual tour of our facility at 10 a.m. featuring educational components. The tour will include metal processing cranes and shears, which kids really like to see. We’re also promoting the ISRI JASON Learning library so teachers and leaders can spread the word on recycling.

All week we are giving a 10-cent per pound bonus on aluminum cans and donating the rest of the difference between purchase price and sales price to three local charities serving the homeless and those in need of food. The event has always helped fund charities. This year, our priority was reaching those in need of food and shelter.

How did you all change your programming to suit the virtual environment?

Like everyone, 2020 was a dry run and we did the best we could, so hopefully it helped us prepare for this year. We noticed immediately how many educators and group leaders were looking for this type of programming. Filling that need inspired us to hopefully take our game up a notch this year!

How can people participate in your virtual Earth Day programming?

You can find a list of all the events at https://recycleyourmetal.com/earth-day/ and all Facebook Live events at https://www.facebook.com/SahdMetalRecycling/. Even if you aren’t in Pennsylvania, you can still participate in many of the activities.

I am particularly excited about the 20 question Earth Day Challenge because it highlights some of the activities local businesses are doing to help us reduce, reuse, and recycle. I think it will be a staple moving forward, even if we go back to adding booths for our green vendors in the future.

Why is Earth Day so important to Sahd Metal Recycling?

It has truly defined who we are. I always tell people we’re only one piece of the puzzle. Sure, we can handle the recycling and show you how we do that, but we need partner organizations and businesses leading the change in technologies, pushing for alternative energy solutions, and promoting conservation to complete the whole picture.

When we started this endeavor, it seemed like there were activist groups on one side, businesses on another, and the government on a third. Everyone would stand in their respective corner and talk about what they do. I’m proud a scrap metal recycler put all those pieces together locally to push for change in a collaborative way. Now, everyone is moving in the same direction to incentivize green and sustainable initiatives. It feels good to know we are ahead of that curve, and we intend to keep it that way. Many ISRI members feel the same way, and having strength in numbers really helps push our industry forward.

Why should people not only acknowledge Earth Day, but actively participate in it?

No matter your thoughts on any of the issues, the reality is this is the direction everyone is moving. We want to motivate our youth to act responsibly and push for change. We also want them to see they can have a future working not only in our industry, but industries that supply scrap metal to us as well. Pulling together the “Made in the USA” incentives with the sustainable and green movements is an area we want to promote and actively be involved in. You’re not only shaping habits when it comes to recycling, but you’re also contributing to encouraging career paths that can have a lasting impact.