At the age of 103, ABC Recycling is one of the oldest scrap metal processing companies in Canada. Started, as many modern scrap recyclers have, in the salvage/re-sell business, by the mid-1970s ABC developed into a modern scrap recycler, and has continued to grow since. According to Randy Kahlon, the company’s manager of business development, procurement and sales, “We are one of the longest standing businesses that have stayed true to our family values for this long.”
Kahlon says in the 1970s, the introduction of advanced equipment and technology available to scrap recyclers was key to the modernization of the industry.
“Our name was changed from ABC Salvage to ABC Recycling. We bought our Burnaby property and got a rail spur put in place,” says Kahlon. “Between ’72 and ‘76 is when we became a true scrap recycling yard. With new equipment and the larger property, logistics became key for us, and we were able to sell directly to the steel mill.”
From a recycling standpoint, ABC’s focus is to handle, process and prepare material for further processing at a steel mill or foundry. Their overall focus is on production. “We’re almost like a manufacturing facility,” explains Kahlon. “Our focus is on pushing as many tons as we can through our facility, based on the amount of equipment we have on hand to do the job. This is our core focus.”
ABC processes approximately 25,000 net tonnes monthly across all of their sites. There are over 220 employees at seven operating facilities in British Columbia, including the Burnaby main yard, as well as in Campbell River, Kelowna, Surrey, Prince George, Terrace and Fort St. John. The company also has one location in Grande Prairie, Alberta and a ninth facility is currently starting up in Nanaimo, B.C. Internationally, the company operates a brokerage office in Shanghai, to help with the trading of nonferrous metals.
“Our brokerage division, a separate division within the company, is constantly brokering products for dealers throughout North America as well as some of the largest scrap companies in the world,” explains Kahlon. “Due to our connections and trade partners overseas, because we have people who speak the language and due to our logistics set up with container carriers, we can broker product for other dealers. We handle the paperwork and set up the logistics to move product globally.”
“In many instances, we’ll never physically touch the product,” continues Kahlon. “We’ll handle the paperwork and we’ll handle the risk. We do this for a lot of scrap dealers and brokers throughout North America.”
ABC’s current CEO, David Yochlowitz, is a fourth-generation owner. He came into the business in the late 1980s, after interest rates were very high and the company was in relative “dire straits”.
“At that time, David’s father Harold decided to liquidate the assets from our trucking / freight standpoint,” explains Kahlon. “He outsourced this part of our business and freed up some assets. It was after this that David steered ABC into non-ferrous metals, which really drove a whole new revenue stream for us. We were ahead of the curve in Canada at the time, as far as getting into non-ferrous, and then from there, we promoted ourselves. David also recognized the talent of people working in the yard. He was able to identify key people in the yard that had some business acumen. He brought them into the office and started the brokerage division in the 1990s.”