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Books about recycling business

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    bigburtchino started this thread.
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    Books about recycling business

    These days most of us get our information from many sources other than reading a book. I'm hoping I'm not the only one that still reads a book every now and then. Yesterday I started reading a book called, "Junkyard Planet" by Adam Minter. I'm only three chapters into it, finding it interesting and very up to date (copyright 2013). Adam Minter is a third generation "Scrapper", his grandfather and father ran a scrapyard in Minneapolis. The book goes a long way in helping me understand the "global" facts about all things scrap. Particular like his insight on China, as he has lived their the last ten years.

    Just thought I would pass this on, was wondering has anyone else read this book or any other books on this subject they would like to comment on.


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    I love to read and non-fiction is my favorite. I was looking at this book a few months back but didn't buy. So you'll have to tell me if it is worthwhile.

    There aren't many books on the subject. Whenever I find something interesting I check to see if I can get it at the library. I think the rest of the population has a different taste in reading material though because I rarely find what I want there.

    I was also looking at A Fortune in Scrap from 2012. I think I'll get that one and give it a read.

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    Hip O - I will post a review of the book when I'm done, not sure how good my literary review skills will come across, but will let all know what I learned or thought about this book. I to read a lot of books, tend to like no-fiction as well and the fictional books I do read need to be based on realities I can grasp. Fortunately for me I have a contact at the library, so I don't buy that many books anymore. My mom is assistant librarian (on her 3rd or 4th career), so it's easy for me to get the books I want.

    A Fortune In Scrap by Ken Burtwell is on my list for mom to get for me (she had to order it). You are right there is not that many books on the subject. As my mom said "the ones that exist, for the most part go unread".
    Last edited by bigburtchino; 11-07-2015 at 07:43 PM.

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    A link to him in a video was brought up recently in another thread. I watched the video in the link, it was of him making speech/talk about him, his family and the world of scrap. It was interesting but somewhat brief. Mike
    "Profit begins when you buy NOT when you sell." {quote passed down to me from a wise man}

    Now go beat the copper out of something, Miked

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigburtchino View Post
    Hip O - I will post a review of the book when I'm done, not sure how good my literary review skills will come across, but will let all know what I learned or thought about this book. I to read a lot of books, tend to like no-fiction as well and the fictional books I do read need to be based on realities I can grasp. Fortunately for me I have a contact at the library, so I don't buy that many books anymore. My mom is assistant librarian (on her 3rd or 4th career), so it's easy for me to get the books I want.

    A Fortune In Scrap by Ken Burtwell is on my list for mom to get for me (she had to order it). You are right there is not that many books on the subject. As my mom said "the ones that exist, for the most part go unread".
    How about some "cliff notes". Just kidding.

    Right now I am reading The Epic Of Gilgamesh. It is the oldest known written story, translated from clay tablets. I thought it would be interesting to see how stories were told in 2000 B.C. Assuming the translation is correct. Or near correct as it's translated from a dead language.

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    I read Junkyard Planet, and overall I enjoyed it. Will be interested to hear your thoughts.

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    Let me add that I also read "Starting From Scrap", by Stephen Greer. Supposedly a "rags to riches" story. I guess people have different opinions about the "rag" part of that equation. I didn't really care for it.

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    I've read Junkyard Planet and Starting from Scrap. Also read A Fortune in Scrap and An Insiders Guide to Scrap Metal Recycling all in the past year. The first two explained a few things I didn't know about the international side of things. The second two I found to be a waste of money. I bought them because I knew I would have down time after work waiting for my ride to pick me up.

    In my opinion, if you want to read good information on the scrap industry in the USA, you've already found all the info you need right here on SMF. If you want to learn more than you can on here, buy a truck and start scrapping for yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swampy View Post
    Let me add that I also read "Starting From Scrap", by Stephen Greer. Supposedly a "rags to riches" story. I guess people have different opinions about the "rag" part of that equation. I didn't really care for it.

    I liked that book for the most part. I liked junkyard planet more. I feel Greer left much to be desired at the conclusion of his story. I won't elaborate in case someone in here wants to read it without knowing the outcome.

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    A Fortune in Scrap Ken Burtwell

    The idea of scrapping big time, as in decommissioned ships and buildings, is very intriguing. I feel the author left it there though. He didn't offer very many specifics other than a quick overview of different types of machinery used.

    I thought the best part of the book was in a chart he provided that helps you estimate the weight of material by size and thickness. It was supposed to b available by request in a pdf format. Unfortunately, the website and email address provided no longer exist.
    There wasn't a lot of meat in this one. It was a quick read and probably not worth the money, IMO.

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    I did get a copy of Junkyard Planet from the Library. Yay!!

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    Junkyard Planet was the first thing I read when I got the recycling manager/commodity broker job at the company I work for. It was e great read and really opened my eyes to scrap on an international level. It also helped me, in an indirect way, understand the importance of due diligence in the e-scrap industry. I recommend it anybody in the scrap industry.

    I also had the pleasure of getting to meet Adam at the E-Scrap conference this year. He put on an epic performance stating the facts and contradicting the founder of the Basel Action Network(E-Stewards standard) in one of the sessions.

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    bigburtchino started this thread.
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    It's good to hear from others at SMF that are also reading books about this business. I'm only half way through with "Junkyard Planet", I tend to read slower as I want to absorb a subject I'm interested in. I doubt if I would have absorbed half of this book, without already scrapping for years and the input from all the members here at SMF. The book so far has gave me a better understanding of the business of other peoples trash or unwanted items. I had very little understanding about the needed "scale" to process scrap profitably. I didn't understand the relationship between our "buying power" and the waste that it generates at a every increasing rate. The book also does a good job in explaining the American scrap industry and the "giants" in the industry that control it. I highly recommend the book to all who desire to learn more, much more than you will ever know by just getting a pickup load of scrap metal and processing it for sale!

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    Well I finished reading "Junkyard Planet", actually finished the book this last Friday Night. It took me three weeks, with many distractions and "other" required reading's in between this books first and last page. I do a lot of reading and always have, sometimes reading more than one book at the same time. That is the case with this book, a very good read and could be read in a day or two if one wanted. For anyone that has a interest in any portion of the scrape metal, waste/trash removal, handling or disposal industries, whatever title used (recycler, business men, processor, tradesman, manager, worker,..), should find this a "fair" insight into the GLOBAL WASTE BUSINESS.

    I'm honestly still digesting a lot of what I read in this book, as I will read some more of the fifteen chapters over again for probably another three weeks. It's just the way I read and learn, bombarding myself with information on a subject, from multiple sources of input. Junkyard Planet is one those books that will answer some of, if not most of the information I'm seeking to lean. Sometimes a good book like this one is, can get you thinking about, questioning one's own beliefs and practices. First chapter is titled "Making Soup", and the scrap most Americans now take for granted, our curbside garbage service. Will show another side of urban trash system and the business of the "trash man". The last chapter, "Ashes to Ashes, Junk to Junk pretty much recaps the lessons learned in previous chapter, but maybe identifies some of the obvious problems with are modern "lifestyles".

    I recommend the book to anyone that wants to learn anything about everything. When I think about it, a little bit about everything and a little bit about "what I never thought of". Pointing out to me, I don't know as much as I thought I did!
    Last edited by bigburtchino; 11-24-2015 at 10:32 AM.

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    "Junkyard Planet" sounds like a book I would enjoy. From the description it sounds like a book I am reading. A National Geographic book called "Earth: The Biography". It's a non-fiction about the different environs on this planet and how they work together to make Earth the special place it is. It is now my favorite book. I read it cover to cover the first time, when I finished it I immediately started reading it over again. And then once more. Well, I'm on my third time reading it consecutively. It's jam packed with information about the environment. So distantly related to scrapping.

    Did you know in the 1940's, the American chemist Thomas Midgley jr, invented the chloroflourocarbon "Freon" to replace the dangerous refrigerants previously used in refrigerator and freezers? He was awarded the equivalent to the Nobel prize for this invention. Fast forward 30 years, and another chemist, Mario Molina, discovered the detrimental effects "Freon" and other cfc's have on the ozone layer. He was awarded the SAME prestigious prize as Thomas Midgley jr. One was awarded a prize for his great discovery, and later another guy was awarded the same prize for discovering how not great that previous discovery actually was. The irony..

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