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  • Mesa, Arizona 85201

    Mesa Firm Keeps Concrete Out of Landfills

    A Mesa company has found a way to keep thousands of pounds of non-biodegradable material out of local landfills and, at the same time, provide products that are in demand at construction sites.

    Contractor’s Landfill and Recycling has a business motto of “We Take It and We Make It.” The landfill buys concrete, asphalt and dirt from demolition projects, or gets it from demolition projects done by its sibling companies.

    The concrete and asphalt gets processed and crushed and is sold for use at other construction sites. All of the recycled material is tested and certified to meet specifications. Most of it is used as road base, floor sub base and backfill material, according to Lee Morgan. Morgan is the business development and sales manager for the landfill.

    Her job involves getting product into the landfill to be repurposed and then pushing that recycled product out the door.

    There’s plenty of old concrete getting torn down in the Valley, Morgan said, but the landfill doesn’t accept all of it.

    If it’s got too much rebar inside or comes with wood or other construction materials, typically it doesn’t get into the recycling pile, she said. It simply takes too much manpower to remove those materials.

    Customers with loads of all sizes use the landfill, she said. Sometimes it’s a homeowner repairing a block fence and bringing in a pickup load. Sometimes it’s a demolition company bringing in multiple dump truck loads.

    In June alone, the landfill accepted 22,500 tons of material for recycling, keeping all of that out of a standard landfill where it’s buried and remains forever. In the first six months of the year, the landfill saw 239,700 tons of material come through the gate, she said, again keeping it out of a regular landfill.

    In 2014, the landfill sold 97,739 tons of aggregate base course — gravel, and 97,739 tons of ground stabilizing asphalt. She expects to double those numbers this year.

    Once it’s been crushed, the recycled concrete doesn’t look much different than gravel created by crushing boulders. The recycled asphalt is darker, but also resembles rock gravel.

    The landfill puts out a finished product that is graded at 1 1/4 minus. That means no piece of gravel is bigger than 1 1/4 inch, Morgan said.

    The city of Mesa is a big customer of the landfill, Morgan said. And, the city of Tempe has been buying more of the recycled material from the landfill.

    “We hear cities say they’re going green,” she said, “but not all of them are willing to buy our product.”

    Her sales efforts have been made easier since 2014 when the Maricopa Association of Governments approved the gravel sold by Contractors Landfill and Recycling to be part of its specifications.

    “That was a big feather in our cap,” Morgan said.

    Company President Mark Haight bought the landfill in 2005. He and his children, Brandon Haight and Tosha Faust, also operate Mark’s Valley Grading and Mark’s Demolition and Excavating.

    He had the other two businesses at the time and found that he and his employees were spending a lot of time hauling material to the landfill.

    “I wanted to crush it and use it on my job sites,” he said. He also needed a bigger piece of land for the other two businesses, so purchasing the landfill and its crushing equipment seemed to make sense.

    “I didn’t even know how to run on a crusher,” Haight said. “We learned. It cost us money. We learned more. It cost us more money. But, now I feel like we know more about this than anyone.”

    When he bought the landfill, Haight said he wasn’t particularly interested in the recycling side of the business, but more in getting additional land.

    Now, 10 years later, he said his position about the importance of recycling has completely changed and he can’t imagine his company not recycling.

    “This is cool, what we do, what we are stopping from going back into the ground,” Haight said.

    With natural resources becoming more limited, more people are interested in obtaining recycled product for their jobs, Haight and Morgan said.

    More and more customers are becoming aware of and conscious about using recycled products, Morgan said, and that helps their business.

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