Breaking new ground

Departments - Editor’s Focus

January 23, 2018

The construction and demolition (C&D) recycling industry, by definition, is predicated on starting over. It’s about taking what was and turning it into what could be.

I couldn’t help but think of that sentiment as I read the news on the morning of Dec. 3—the day before I started as the new editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling.

After spending the past five years as an editor covering the real estate and automotive markets, I readied myself for my first day on the job perusing that day’s C&D recycling headlines. With my Sunday morning cup of coffee in hand, I came across the news of the scheduled implosion of the Pontiac Silverdome located in Detroit (coincidentally this issue’s cover story) that would make way for new development.

Since it opened in 1975, the Silverdome had served as home to both the Detroit Lions and Pistons, was host to Super Bowls, a visit from Pope John Paul II, and served as the city’s go-to venue for countless other sporting events and concerts. The Silverdome had been a Detroit landmark for more than a quarter century. All to be undone with the proverbial push of a button.

My takeaway was that sometimes you have to start over to make way for something new. That’s true regardless of if you’re talking about construction, careers or the current C&D recycling climate.

Tank’s Roll-Off and Recycling, chronicled in this issue’s Regional Spotlight, is a prime example of the latter.

Jason Tankersley, CEO of The Fairfax Cos. owner of the Speedway Recycling & Landfill Facility in Tucson, Arizona, shared how his company started Tank’s Roll-Off and Recycling to proactively combat the low tipping fees in the region. The company, a roll off business specializing in green and wood wastes, is the company’s strategic attempt to generate a new source of revenue by leveraging an underserved population of the city.

“Our biggest opportunity is also our biggest challenge: competing with the cheap tipping fees [offered in our region] while gaining market share by appealing to those who truly care about what happens to their waste,” Tankersley says. “Finding uses for waste is what we do, and we will just need to try harder to find a beneficial use for all this stuff.”

In life and in business, few things stay the same. The good news is that there are always opportunities if you’re willing to take on a new challenge.