Anyone wanting to see what the future of metal recycling looks like would be well advised to visit EMR’s Becker shredder site in Minnesota – a facility so advanced that businesses from around the world flock to it to learn from its numerous low carbon, environmentally-friendly innovations.
The brainchild Scott Helberg, COO of EMR USA’s Northern Region – a key part of EMR’s growing US operations.
“The origins of the Becker facility are in our Minneapolis shredder, which was part of a site earmarked for the creation of a new park. We initially worked together with government agencies to find a new site and show the local community that it is possible to build a clean, quiet, safe and low carbon shredder by using the most up-to-date technology.”
It is a well-known fact at EMR USA that, if Scott has an idea he believes in, he will work tirelessly with his team to ensure it is delivered.
“When we first proposed building this facility in Becker, the community had worries that it would make too much noise or become an eyesore. I made the decision that – rather than rely on the single consultation meeting required by the state – I would go out and meet the community at a series of events, answer their questions and explain how our facility would benefit the local economy.”
Becker is where Scott, his children and grandchildren all call home.
“Do you think I would propose a facility so close to where I live, if I thought for a moment it would affect my family?”
It was a bold message and one which gained the trust of the Becker community – a trust which remains:
“Our site is so well maintained that even the lawn outside is cut to the standard of a baseball field,”
“Customers arrive on site and tell us they’re disappointed that the facility isn’t running, but it is – because the shredder is enclosed it’s just so quiet that they don’t hear anything.”
The leadership qualities Scott displayed in bringing a state-of-the-art shredder to Becker have been present throughout his more than 30 years in the recycling industry.
“When I was about 20 years old, I convinced my local bank manager to loan me the money to buy a scrap yard from a company that had gone bankrupt – that was after being told I should wait a few years, gain experience and that I wasn’t ready.”
In contrast, Scott turned the site back into a successful business, eventually sold it on, and has taken senior roles across the industry which have led to his role as COO of EMR USA’s Northern Region.
It’s a journey that has ultimately led Scott to oversee the development of one of the world’s most advanced recycling facilities in Becker. Yet, this is just the beginning he believes:
“Not only do we welcome members of the EMR team from around the world to see what we’re doing here, we have also given tours to other parts of the industry too. We recently invited a group from South Korea to see the site and how it works and they’re now looking to develop something similar.
“I’m really proud of what we have created here and I’m excited to see how our hard work will continue to influence the global metal recycling sector for years to come.”