Updated May 22, 2020

“The RTO (regenerative thermal oxidizer) appears to have had some success in terms of reducing the volatile organic compound emissions. There’s no question about that and the science does say that. . . . We’re not scientists,” Chicago Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) said, appearing alongside General Iron spokesman Randall Samborn on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight on May 20.

“And I give them credit. That thermal oxidizer . . . cost several million dollars.” Alderman Hopkins said.

Actual experts at the Illinois EPA told City of Chicago officials in early April that General Iron was fully compliant with air quality emissions standards.

We appreciate Alderman Hopkins’ recognition of the efforts we’re making. We’re looking forward to completing our even better new facility on the southeast side on much larger property with greater buffers from public streets and neighbors. General Iron has the only enclosed metal shredder in Chicago with a particulate matter filter and an RTO. The City’s best long-term interest will be served when we complete all necessary repairs, meet and exceed all city and state operating requirements, and resume responsible recycling that protects public health and the environment.

Facts About General Iron

In response to recent inquiries from neighbors about General Iron’s operations along the North Branch of the Chicago River, the fact is that metal shredding and recycling is a vital and necessary business that,
at times, is also gritty. While we welcome questions and concerns about our facility, we would like to address the substantial misinformation that is being spread about us in the neighborhood, which we have also called home for more than a half-century.

General Iron has served the metal recycling needs of Chicago for 110 years and currently employs approximately 125 individuals, predominantly minorities earning an average annual salary of $80,000. Metal recycling is a critical element of solid waste management, and keeping discarded autos,
appliances, and demolition materials out of landfills helps make Chicago a green, sustainable city, while conserving energy and natural resources.

We understand that the neighborhood around General Iron is changing and that is why the company signed an agreement with the City of Chicago to end operations at the north side facility at the end of 2020. In the meantime, we have spent millions of dollars in recent years to ensure that our operation fully complies with, or outperforms, applicable environmental regulations enforced by the City of Chicago and the Illinois EPA and the U.S. EPA. The agreement with the city imposes strict oversight of General Iron’s activities, including limiting the shredder to operating between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

To learn more, please read our complete Facts About General Iron

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