We first established a presence in the 10th Ward over 30 years ago. RMG and its predecessor businesses have safely and responsibly conducted metal and electronics recycling, stevedoring, and material handling services since 1987.
RMG, Southside Recycling’s parent company, began assembling its current property more than 20 years ago. Through an affiliate, RMG made its first land purchase in 1997 at 116th Street and Avenue O, a brownfield site that was previously home to the LTV and Republic steel mills. We finished assembling the 175-acre site in 2001.
RMG is a proud supporter of The Southeast Side of Chicago Food Pantry, which has operated on our property since April 2019. Its relocation to a building we provide has helped the organization to serve 6,551 households through the first 11 months of 2020, more than triple its capacity prior to moving.
The operation’s pollution control equipment will be unrivaled in Chicago. In fact, no other shredding facility in the Midwest features all of the advanced technology and equipment that Southside Recycling is installing.
We manage end-of-life goods through an environmentally responsible process that returns the metal to a form in which it can be reused in the manufacture of new products. Without the services we provide, unwanted goods would be discarded in streets and alleys, creating eyesores throughout the city.
We proudly employ our South Side neighbors in RMG’s existing businesses. Hundreds of construction workers are building the new Southside Recycling facility. The introduction of a new business primed for growth will create additional jobs on the South Side once we begin operating.
Recycling metals conserves energy and natural resources. When obsolete metal goods are recycled instead of buried in a landfill, their value as a reusable asset can be realized. Using recycled metal in manufacturing processes reduces the need for energy-intensive mining of iron ore and other minerals. Southside Recycling will boast best-in-class metal recovery technologies to ensure the highest possible recycling rates.
Southside Recycling is not a landfill or waste disposal facility. We buy end-of-life metal goods to keep them out of landfills and ensure that they are recycled to become new products.
Recycling reduces pollution by curtailing the need for mining of natural resources. Southside Recycling will utilize the most advanced pollution control equipment available to ensure that our operations do not create harmful emissions. This includes a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO), roll-media filter, wet scrubber, and other equipment that combine to capture emissions created in the recycling process.
Unlike most shredding facilities, including all others in the region, Southside Recycling’s shredder will be enclosed to contain noise and dust. This style is common at shredding facilities in Europe, but is rarely used in the United States. Enclosing the shredder provides further emissions control while also creating a much more aesthetically pleasing facility.
Southside Recycling is not a manganese nor a petcoke operation.
Southside Recycling is an entirely new business. It is not the relocation of General Iron. That operation will be shut down and replaced by this state-of-the-art facility.
We have invested in state-of-the-art technologies to ensure that our operation is unrivaled in its sophistication. RMG is committed to protecting the health of our local community on the South Side, as well as the hundreds of employees who work at our facility every day. We’ve been here for more than 30 years and have many team members who live in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Exhaust from the shredder is gathered by a capture hood, where it is directed through a high-efficiency cyclone that will remove large particulates. Exhaust then passes through a thick filtering material that creates a physical barrier and retains particulate matter. After exiting the filter, exhaust is directed to the regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO), which eliminates volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and has a demonstrated destruction efficiency of greater than 98 percent. Finally, exhaust passes through the wet scrubber. This device neutralizes any gases that may be generated by the RTO. The visible emissions at the end of this extensive process are water vapor which is released through the stack that sits atop the wet scrubber.
Advanced air monitoring equipment will be used at the operation. In addition, water trucks, street sweepers, and large misting cannons placed at strategic locations across the facility will be used when needed to control dust. We will capture and process water used in the operation, as well as stormwater runoff.
A proven safety device called an LEL (lower explosive limit) monitor will be installed to detect elevated levels of combustible gases to prevent explosions.
Reserve Iron & Metal, a predecessor to RMG, begins operations at the Port of Chicago, establishing its presence in Chicago’s 10th Ward.
Reserve Marine Terminals (RMT) begins providing stevedoring and material handling services at the Port of Chicago.
An RMG affiliate purchases 48 acres on the site of LTV Steel. RMT moves its stevedoring and material handling operations to the new site on the Calumet River.
The same RMG affiliate makes two subsequent purchases of land from LTV Steel and Republic Steel. Upon completion of the purchases, RMG owns approximately 175 acres of former steel mill land.
Napuck Salvage of Waupaca begins operations on the RMG site.
RMT begins processing scrap metal on the RMG site.
South Shore Recycling begins operations on the RMG site.
Regency Technologies begins operations on the RMG site.
RMT, Napuck Salvage of Waupaca, South Shore Recycling, Regency Technologies, and a number of other entities are officially consolidated under the RMG name.
Recognizing that General Iron’s long run on the North Side is coming to an end, General Iron and RMG announce a strategic partnership to fill the void that would result from General Iron’s closing. They envision a new, modern metal recycling facility to be located on RMG’s expansive property along the Calumet River on the South Side.
RMG meets with community stakeholders and environmental groups, including the Southeast Environmental Task Force, the Southeast Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, to answer questions regarding its proposed new recycling business.
RMG attempts to arrange a follow-up meeting to offer further transparency and open communication. Environmental groups refuse to meet.
The City of Chicago, General Iron Industries, and RMG sign a Term Sheet Agreement outlining the parties’ respective commitments to the process of closing General Iron and constructing a new metal recycling facility on RMG’s South Side property.
RMG completes its purchase of General Iron’s business and assets and submits a construction permit application for the new facility to the Illinois EPA.
After a nine-month review that includes 77 days for the receipt of public comments on the project, the Illinois EPA issues a final construction permit for the new facility. The Illinois EPA’s published report shows that at least 329 written comments were received.
After 100 years of operation on the North Side of Chicago, intake of recyclable material will cease at General Iron's Lincoln Park facility.
RMG plans to begin operation of Southside Recycling, a new, state-of-the-art metal recycling operation with the most advanced pollution control equipment found anywhere in Chicago and the Midwest.
Two-thirds of iron and steel produced in the United States is manufactured using ferrous scrap.
Recycling one car saves energy equivalent to 450 gallons of gasoline and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 8,811 pounds of CO2.
Manufacturing steel from recycled ferrous scrap uses 60% less energy and reduces CO2 emissions by 58% compared to manufacturing from virgin materials.
Recycling one ton of steel conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.
The United States recycles about 13 million tons (26 billion pounds) of end-of-life vehicles annually. This saves enough energy to power 18 million homes.
The scrap recycling industry has a total economic impact of $2.41 billion and provides almost 12,000 jobs in Chicago.
Source: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)
Southside Recycling invited Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, and U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan to visit its new facility and issue its delayed operating permit in an open letter signed by more than 1,300 stakeholders and supporters.
In an open letter signed by more than 2,000 nationwide stakeholders, Southside Recycling urged Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, and U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan to tour its facility and issue its long-delayed permit.
A Recycling Today deep dive traces the story of Southside Recycling back to its beginning.
A federal judge cited jurisdictional and timing issues with Southside Recycling's lawsuit against the City of Chicago.
After three Southeast Side residents filed an amicus brief in the ongoing lawsuit with the City of Chicago, Southside Recycling filed a response to counter the brief's misleading claims.
John Howell invited RMG CEO Steve Joseph on his show to discuss the latest developments in Southside Recycling's fight to obtain its operating permit.
Southside Recycling filed a response refuting the City of Chicago's arguments against the company's lawsuit.
RMG CEO Steve Joseph joined John Howell of WLS-AM 890 in Chicago to provide an update on the current situation surrounding Southside Recycling.
Davis Index published a comprehensive story on the history of the relationship between Southside Recycling and the City of Chicago.
Southside Recycling filed a memorandum in support of their lawsuit seeking a court order that would compel the City of Chicago to issue an operating permit.
Southside Recycling has asked a federal court to order Chicago to issue its operating permit and award damages.
Southside Recycling has filed a complaint for mandamus asking a court to direct the City of Chicago and Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, to issue a final Large Recycling Facility permit that the company requires to operate.
Southside Recycling, which has constructed the most environmentally conscious metal recycling facility in the country on Chicago’s Southeast Side, filed a federal lawsuit yesterday seeking a court order directing the City of Chicago to issue the final permit needed for the facility to begin operating.
RMG CEO Steve Joseph spoke with Linda Lutton of WBEZ in Chicago about how Southside Recycling’s high-tech new facility was designed to provide the highest level of environmental protection found at any metal recycling operation in the United States.
Southeast Side environmental activists are well-organized and vocal, so it is both disheartening and disingenuous when they distort facts in the pursuit of their goals.
General Iron is closing, not relocating. Almost nothing about our new construction from the ground up resembles the North Side site.
The metals recycling industry has been dedicated to the responsible management of resources for its centuries-long history. RMG’s site is well-suited for this type of work, and our financial commitment to this project will ensure that the facility’s equipment, processes and controls will be among the most environmentally responsible operations in the region.
With nearly a dozen affiliated companies operating 14 facilities in 10 states, RMG has established an environmentally responsible presence in Chicago’s 10th Ward for over 30 years.
Southside Recycling is not a manganese nor a petcoke operation. We are a recycler of obsolete and end-of-life metal goods, the vast majority of which are iron and steel.
Southside Recycling will employ a device called an LEL (lower explosive limit) monitor which has the ability to automatically divert any airstream with elevated levels of combustible gases away from areas where combustion could occur.
The first line of defense in keeping improper materials out of the shredder is our close relationships with our registered supplier base. We conduct ongoing supplier education to ensure all individuals and companies delivering recyclables to us are fully aware of the materials we accept for shredding. Proper handling and complete draining of all fluids is required before Southside Recycling will accept recyclables from any supplier.
To further ensure compliance, we employ a team of inspectors will screen all inbound shipments for any prohibited or nonconforming materials. These inspectors are extensively trained to spot any potentially dangerous items, separate them before they can enter the shredder, and ensure that they are disposed of properly.
Southside Recycling’s shredder will be enclosed, creating a physical sound barrier to contain noise from the operation. The shredder will be located approximately 2,500 feet from the nearest public right of way. A wall of shipping containers and newly planted trees provide additional noise buffers.
In addition, as part of our application for a Large Recycling Facility permit, we conducted a noise impact assessment that showed noise levels will be far below applicable City of Chicago standards.
The enclosed shredder is designed to contain dust and noise. Southside Recycling will use extensive dust-suppression equipment and well-defined best practices to control dust and other materials, ensuring that they stay inside the property lines that bound the 25-acre site.
At Southside Recycling, the only emissions visible to observers from beyond the property line will be water vapor that is released from the wet scrubber stack. The wet scrubber stack is the last piece of equipment in a multi-part process that filters out metals, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) before steam (water vapor) is released into the air.
No. Air emissions testing shows that any claims regarding excessive or illegal pollution from the equipment to be used at Southside Recycling are false and misleading. Sophisticated air dispersion modeling conducted for the Southside Recycling site demonstrates that emissions will be far below regulatory standards designed to protect human health and the environment.
No. Southside Recycling’s shredder will be located approximately 2,500 feet – almost a half-mile – from any school. This distance creates quite an expansive buffer, especially when compared to the location of the existing shredder on the North Side. In addition, the shredder at Southside Recycling will be enclosed to contain noise, dust, and other materials involved in the recycling process. Finally, Southside Recycling will employ environmental controls and equipment that do not exist at any other metal shredding facility in the Midwest.
No. Metal recycling plays a vital role in protecting the Earth. When metal is recycled and reused to manufacture new products, it keeps useful resources out of landfills, where their value as a reusable asset cannot be realized. Using recycled metal in manufacturing processes also reduces the need for harmful mining activities that use huge amounts of energy to extract virgin metal-making minerals from the Earth. If Southside Recycling is not allowed to operate, there will still be metal recycling in Chicago. However, the only other shredder within city limits, and all other shredders in the region, have none of the extensive pollution control equipment that Southside Recycling will employ at its site.
We care deeply about our neighbors on the South Side. RMG, the parent company of Southside Recycling, has been a part of the South Side community for more than 30 years. We have invested tens of millions of dollars to build a safe and environmentally responsible operation that protects the health of our employees and the surrounding neighborhoods, performs a vital economic and environmental service, and is primed for growth that will create more well-paying jobs. We have also worked to help beautify the neighborhood by planting more than 200 trees that will help create a visually pleasing buffer between our property and the surrounding community.
In addition, RMG has long supported community efforts such as the Southeast Side of Chicago Food Pantry, which operates in a building that RMG provides at no cost. Our operational and financial support of the food pantry has helped it to serve more than three times as many families than it was able to before moving to its current location. We will continue to support this vital organization and hope to help enable further growth.
RMG has also provided funding and support to other groups and organizations in the community, such as the East Side Little League, where we recently helped install a new scoreboard and storage areas in addition to making a financial contribution. We continue to search for additional ways to make a positive difference in the local community. If you have suggestions of other ways that we might help, please do not hesitate to contact us.
No. RMG, the parent company of Southside Recycling, has been proudly operating on the South Side for over 30 years. When we purchased General Iron to close down their operation and create our own, it was only natural that we wanted to open the new operation on our existing property. RMG’s land on the South Side is properly zoned for metal recycling and is ideally located with access to truck, rail, and barge shipping. In addition, we have an incredible workforce at our existing businesses, many of whom live on the South Side and have been with RMG for multiple decades. The addition of Southside Recycling to RMG’s operations on the South Side will create more well-paying head-of-household jobs that we hope to fill with our neighbors from the surrounding community.
The Chicago Department of Public Health recently adopted stringent new rules specifically for large recycling facilities such as ours. These new rules guarantee that scrutiny of our business will not end upon the issuance of permits. Regulatory authorities will hold us accountable for abiding by all permit conditions and regulations. We expect and accept this vigilance, as it ensures compliance and facilitates fair competition.