Sioux Falls Recycling Industry Wonder

Sheltered from the current unfavorable trends in the US recycling industry in the State of South Dakota, the Millennium Recycling Inc. is celebrating 20 years of successful entrepreneurship for a wonder!

Innovative Recycling Technology Allows People to Leave Recyclables Mixed Again

Hailing from a family of successful entrepreneurs, now a 47-year-old Jake Anderson moved from Minnesota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, two decades ago. He made that decision after he had spotted an opportunity for developing a business of his own. Today, he is celebrating 20 years of successful business in the recycling industry.

It took him a whole year to get familiar with the people and the surroundings and to establish productive relationships with the locals, which are especially important in the recycling industry.

With an educational impact on the community in developing favorable habits in people while doing business there, Anderson had demonstrated that thorough research pays off.

He also showed that a wisely-conducted business in an underrepresented niche in a small community is a recipe for success.

Today, it is possible for the citizens in the Sioux Falls area, hundreds of thousands of them, to mix used paper, glass, plastic, cans, and not to worry about sorting them before disposal. An innovative single-stream recyclable sorter does that for them and looks after their environment. The acquisition of the sorter was pivotal for the facility. The first stage of this technological renewal was completed in 2007, just before the recession. The Millennium Recycling faced oversupply and minimala demand, and it was nearing bankruptcy. However, it was saved by a small miracle, namely, by a slight improvement in the market. And from that moment on, things started getting better. Nonetheless, Mr. Anderson learned from the experience not to leave anything to chance. Chinese policies are currently influencing big recycling companies in an unfavorable and unpredictable manner, even making them dependent on Chinese investments. Meanwhile, about 90% of Millennium’s recycled material is sold to buyers in the US Midwest.

After years spent in research and employment of innovative technology and two decades of the market’s ebbs and flows, today, only about 3.5% of the material remain unrecycled.

The company’s northern Sioux Falls facility:

  • Handles 3,500 to 4,000 tons per month (it handled 150 to 300 tons per month when Anderson bought the company)
  • Employs about 30 people
  • Employs a dozen staff members more at the Secure Enterprise Asset Management, a spin-off company that specializes in recycling electronics. The company was the first in the State to start recycling consumer electronics.

This earned Mr. Anderson a place in a trade mission to China with former Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The newest addition to Anderson’s endeavors is the nonprofit Ecomaniacs, which provides recycling services to summer events.

In connecting the past with the present, ever since he had established his business, Mr. Anderson had a reliable coworker in Ms. Shannon Dwire. She was a former employee of the previous company that Anderson purchased, and now she is the President of the Millennium Recycling.

Judging by Anderson’s own words, the business has good prospects: “Recycling is not going to go away. It’s going to do what it’s always done. It’s going to evolve.”

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