She turned her passion for solid waste and scrap generated by businesses into a family company in North Platte that helps protect our environment a pound at a time.
Thanks to an SBA guaranteed loan, Pamela Pacheco started All Business & Commercial (ABC) Recycling, a company working with commercial, agricultural and industrial business owners to lessen the load on landfills, with dramatic results. Since opening their doors mid-June, Pacheco said they’ve helped recycle some 250,000 pounds of disposed material; by the end of October 2014 another quarter of a million pounds will be diverted from the waste stream.
“Probably 80 percent of that is new stuff we’ve convinced them to recycle that otherwise would have gone into a landfill,” Pacheco added. “A year from now, I expect us to be handling millions of pounds of hard to recycle material that was previously going to landfills.
“We have markets already established, companies domestic and overseas, that want that material,” Pacheco said. “Our goal is to help businesses who want to recycle save money by reducing their waste management costs.
Looking for ways businesses can cut recycling costs
ABC Recycling is just as the name says; they eschew residential recycling services in favor of picking up plastics, cardboard, paper, scrap metal and outdated electronic materials from agriculture producers, manufacturing facilities and other industrial companies, material which they send to processors who supply material to fabricators to make new products.
The company works with communities to host electronic recycling events in towns in west central Nebraska, inviting folks to turn in their old gear en masse; the company shows up, packages it all up, and carts it all off. That includes computer monitors and old, bulky television sets—which are sent to a domestic end user who takes the lead out of the glass, then repurposes the crushed glass.
Even more, the company has reached out to a gas and oil company in Colorado and South Dakota to help recycle polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, liners, thread protectors and more. “It’s hard to recycle that material,” Pacheco said, “so we wanted to create a central location to bring the material in and get it out to our end users.
Helping the environment, one customer at a time
While private households already are doing their part for the environment, ABC Recycling considers educating businesses on the potential of diverting tons of waste into recycling efforts a crucial part of its mission.
There are no-brainers like cardboard and paper but there’s so much more that can be diverted from the waste stream and not end up in our landfills,” Pacheco added. “We’ve been doing a lot of talking, sitting down with businesses and schools, trying to get a program in place by starting with a couple of things to divert and then keep adding to that. There’s so much need out there for this service, they want to get involved, so the challenge is to appeal to their philanthropic sense and their business sense in a way that it works for all parties.”
Coming back home to found a family firm
Pacheco grew up in North Platte, but she had her mind set on finding her career elsewhere. After graduating from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, she moved to New York City, completing an MBA from the University of Connecticut. She took a position in business development, a job needing a personal touch to retain and grow clients, and sometimes win them back. She was good at it--and that’s when she “caught the fever” to one day to start a company of her own.
Pacheco did just that when she moved to Denver in 2001, combining her professional experience and her passion to protect the environment first by consulting for an established electronics recycler to help grow his business, then developing her own start-up.
“I realized that there was no one providing businesses with a one-source solution for their recycling needs, or putting together green programs specifically for them,” she said. Her mother, brother and sister soon joined up, helping to grow the nascent business while traveling back and forth from the family home in North Platte to Denver to work.
After several exhausting years commuting the four-hour one-way trip, Pacheco is dissolving that business and moving back to North Platte.
“I’m coming full circle,” she said. “This company is literally two blocks from where I grew up.”
With the company back home in Nebraska, her mother serves as the company’s chief financial officer, with her brother as vice-president of operations, sister as the vice-president of client services, and nephew who also works for the business. Also, her dad, a retired contractor, helped renovate offices and continues to help lend a hand wherever needed. ABC currently boasts five full-time employees, plus a part-time driver and warehouse processor.
Turning to the SBA to get going
The company needed financing to get started, and turned to Nebraskaland National Bank in North Platte. Pacheco owned the buildings on the north part of town, two blocks west of the main drag, and used that as collateral. But the bank looked to the SBA not only to guarantee a significant fraction of the loan, but to offer ABC Recycling a lower interest rate on the deal and to give them room on the balance sheet. The business was approved through the Lender Advantage program in April 2014.
“It helped alleviate our costs,” Pacheco said. “We got six months of paying interest only payments before we had to start paying back principal too, which helps when you’re first starting out.”
The proceeds were used for upgrading the buildings and expanding electrical work for the warehouse, and to purchase a baler, a shredder, a couple of forklifts and some packaging.
“It is really gratifying to add up the tons of material we’ve kept out of landfills already,” Pacheco said. “You can see where we’ve already made a difference.”