Grooters Launches Recycling Waste Collection Operation

November 21, 2007
| By Pete Daly |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Robert Grooters Development Co. is branching out into commercial/industrial waste hauling, with an emphasis on recycling and an experienced manager in charge.

The new Grooters entity, Grooters Green Group, is headed by Jeannie ten Haaf, who started work in August. The company, based at Grooters headquarters on Patterson Avenue near 44th Street, now has three waste-hauling trucks and about 100 customers.

Ten Haaf said more trucks will be added to the fleet and she expects "there are probably quite a few more (customers) coming in shortly."

Ten Haaf has 21 years of management experience in recycling. She was co-owner of VanDyken Disposal for 11 years and subsequently worked for some of the largest waste haulers in the nation. Most recently she was employed by Republic Waste.

In her previous experience, ten Haaf worked with manufacturing clients such as Honda and Toyota suppliers in Michigan.

Ten Haaf said Grooters Green Group does a thorough audit of every new business that signs up for its waste-hauling service, to determine exactly what kind of waste is being generated there.

"We find the best ways to dispose of it, whether that be recycling or a landfill. But our ultimate goal is to recycle," she said.

Grooters Green Group is working with several West Michigan recyclers, including Recycling Concepts Inc. on 52nd Street, which recycles plastics, cardboard and paper. That company may soon be expanding into metal recycling, too, she said.

Grooters Green Group is also trying to encourage new recycling enterprises and has been in touch with at least one nonprofit organization that specializes in finding jobs for individuals with disabilities or other barriers to employment.

So far, the new Grooters group is serving factories, warehouses, restaurants, apartment complexes and construction sites. The company has roll-off containers ranging from 10 to 40 cubic yard capacities, and compactors for industrial customers. One customer generated 29 tons of recyclable cardboard and plastics in a month recently.

"Anybody that has trash, we do it," said ten Haaf. She said the company does not have residential customers now, but down the road that may be a possibility.

Ten Haaf agrees that competition is stiff in the waste-hauling industry. "But that's America and it’s a good thing to have competition. I think what we have is a staff with the knowledge" from working in the industry previously. She also noted her staff is used to working with major accounts.

According to the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business Web site, Robert Grooters Development Co. is the largest privately held developer of industrial and manufacturing buildings in the region, and ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. The company has developed numerous business parks in West Michigan and constructed nearly 25 million square feet of buildings, including Bridgewater Place – Tower I.

Currently, Grooters is building the high-rise, 207-unit River House at Bridgewater Place in downtown Grand Rapids. The 34-story River House reportedly will be Michigan's tallest residential high-rise (see story on page 1).

Last spring Grooters opened the Aerotech Office Suites near Patterson and 44th Street, designed to suit smaller firms.

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