Business The Press

South Gate demolition firm puts emphasis on recycling

SOUTH GATE — Interior Removal Specialists is primarily a demolition company, but it is concerned about the environment and recycling, says Richard A. Ludt, director of environment affairs for the business at 8990 Atlantic Ave.

“All the furnishings in our lobby are made of recycled materials and we have torn up 7,000 square feet of turf to install native plants and wood shavings,” said Ludt, the latter an effort to combat the current drought.

But recycling is the main environmental operation at the site, which includes a materials recycling facility where trash is separated from items that can be recycled or reused.

Most of the materials handled are from buildings demolished by the firm, such as cement, concrete, metals or wood.

“We handle 150 to 200 tons of materials a day or about 36,000 [tons] a year,” Ludt said. “Of that amount, only 6,000 tons is shipped to landfills while the other 30,000 are sent to recycling operations, elsewhere in the area.”

The business runs 24 hours a day.

Those numbers are expected to expand in the next two or three years as the South Gate City Council July 28 approved a permit allowing the company to accept municipal solid waste and increase the recycling capacity to 3,000 tons a day.

However, the company plans to cap the total at 2,000 tons, Ludt said.

The expanded operation will be enclosed and a study indicates there will be no major traffic problems.

The company is in contact with trash haulers operating in the Los Angeles area with plans to offer a convenient site to take trash collected in various communities.

Ludt said that under state law, at least 50 percent of the refuge collected in area cities must be recycled instead of going to fast-filling landfills.

“That percentage goes up to 75 percent in 2020 and down the line zero trash may be permitted in the landfills,” Ludt said.

However, operations can’t begin until the state approves the permit and construction of the planned 40,000-square-foot enclosed recycling facility begins, possibly next year, with an opening planned for 2017.

Even further down the line is the possibility of converting trash to green power.

“We obtained a permit for that from the City Council but are waiting to see what kind of technology is available and what the requirements of the regional Air Quality Management District might be,” Ludt said.

Carlos Herrera, born and raised in downtown Los Angeles to Mexican parents, is CEO and president of the 21-year old demolition business.

It’s a Herrera family operation with a son and daughter in the business, Ludt said.

The company started in La Puente and moved to the South Gate site at Atlantic and Rayo Avenue, 13 years ago.

The business covers 14 acres with buildings totaling 196,289 square feet. It employs about 250 people.

Ludt said that while building materials are recycled, the company is paid to clear structures and in so doing often remove items such as appliances and furniture, which may be reused.

“We donate items to people or organizations who may need them,” he said. “The recipients must show they will personally use the donated item.We don’t want to provide items for lawn sales.”

He adds the company does not take tax deductions on the donated items, saying “we were paid to remove them.”

Ludt said his company not only helps the environment but people as well.

“It’s an honor to work here. We are good neighbors and have never had a complaint,” he said.