Recycled Materials Company
Rick Givan • 303-431-3701
Rick Givan has been president of the family-owned Recycled Materials
Company for nearly a dozen years. The company itself was formed
about 30 years ago, and has since evolved into a business that
now operates in 14 western states, predominantly in Colorado
Those states, according to Givan, are big markets because there
are military bases, shipyards and aircraft plants that are being
redeveloped. The redevelopment of the Stapleton Airport property
in Colorado was what Givan called a “classic example” of what
the business does. Material that was on runways one week was
being re-used as house foundation material a month later.
Before joining Recycled Materials, Givan had a background in
the bridge and road building industry, but said he was “drawn
into” the uniqueness of an industry where “you never do the same
thing twice.” He explained that building one road or another
is essentially the same, but that recycling is a constant challenge
where every demolition job and every redevelopment project is
Recycled Materials accepts concrete and asphalt from contractors
at its six Denver metro area recycling yards. There are also
mobile plants that travel to customer locations where the aggregate
is made onsite. “When we come to you, we charge a fee,” Givan
said, “but we leave the material.”
Recycled Materials does demolition projects “hooked into a recycling
assignment,” Givan said. He explained that the business is not
about the demolition, but is all about re-using the materials.
The company processes the concrete and asphalt and takes other
recyclables to processors who specialize in those materials.
Since he started in the business, Givan has seen an increase
in the acceptance of the products. “The market understands that
the recycled material is the same in specification as quarried
materials,” he said. Also, there has been an increase in applications,
including concrete use “where that wasn’t accepted before”.
There is also a “dawning of recognition” that disposal of concrete
in landfills is a waste of good material, and that it is needlessly
taking up landfill space. “It’s gone from ‘this stuff is junk’
to being widely accepted,” he said.
He anticipates that eventually the states will have more uniform
regulations for the use of recycled materials and that there
will be some standard recycling specifications. For example,
use of recycled materials in concrete is currently acceptable
in Colorado, but is banned in other states.
There will always be some local differences, because local quarries
provide different materials. Where one state might have a lot
of limestone, another might have more granite, and the aggregate
used in that area will reflect those local variations.
But no matter what the material, Givan said that states could
save a lot of money by reusing the recyclable material taken
from roadways, and could spend the money building more roads.
Not only would money be saved by not needing to buy the material,
but trucking costs are saved by keeping the material onsite.
Still, Givan finds that a lot of his job is education. “I’m a
contractor and a recycler,” he said, and when he explains how
recycling will help the customer avoid disposal fees, some customers
wonder, “Why is this guy telling me this?” There is some skepticism
that being “green” can save the customer money rather than costing
more, as is sometimes the case.
Givan said that he often needs to tie all the pieces together
for the customer – that while the recycled aggregate might be
more expensive compared to other aggregate, there are no disposal
fees for the old material, and no trucking fees to remove the
old material or bring in the new.
Besides making aggregate, Givan explained that Recycled Materials
can make a very diverse range of products. For example, concrete
can be colored for use in landscaping projects or broken into
pieces for use as stone for garden walls. Different types of
breaking equipment is used to create a range of sizes of end
product, depending on what the customer needs.
“We’re associated more with demolition,” Givan said, “yet our
real claim to fame is re-use and redevelopment.” He said that
he sees his business as “a window into the future,” rather than
a company that simply tears down and recycles, because after
the tear-down, the areas are redeveloped into something new.
“It’s the renewal of the land.”