Ferrous Processing & Trading (FPT) supports innovative new partnerships to help prevent the prevalent issue of metal theft. In Quebec, thieves working in the night made away with sections of copper roofs, gutters, and wiring from four Quebec City churches. Mobile phone base station equipment has been destroyed as the result of copper wire and feed line theft throughout the United States, and in metro Atlanta, Georgia, reports of air conditioning thefts from various home and commercial sites raise concerns. The far-reaching issue of metal theft has had a significant global impact on the recycling industry and other businesses whose supplies or equipment have been deemed valuable by unscrupulous individuals looking to cash in on the rising price of scrap metal.
Cause for Concern
The increased price of stainless steel scrap has brought a shared problem for two diverse and seemingly unrelated, industries: scrap recyclers and beer distributors. Since 2007, beer makers say they lost hundreds of thousands of kegs and millions of dollars as the stainless steel holders of brew are stolen and sold for scrap metal. As the scrap value of kegs rises higher than the deposit, thieves, dishonest consumers, and even some retailers have redeemed the metal barrels at scrap recycling yards instead of returning them to the rightful owners.
The problem can be twofold: keg-buying customers opt to forgo their deposits, which can range from $10 to $30, knowing they can cover that expense, and then some, if they sell to scrap metal dealers. Given current scrap metal trading prices, a keg could be valued from $15 to $55 or more at scrap metal recycling yards.
Dishonest actions like this have a substantial impact on local beverage distribution companies such as the Soave Enterprises’ affiliate CITY Beverage-Markham.
“Beginning in 2005, we started noticing a pronounced loss of kegs during our annual audit by Anheuser-Busch,” explained Mike Dowd, Vice President and General Manager for CITY Beverage-Markham. “Distributors are billed for the missing kegs. CITY Beverage was not alone in the significant funds we expended to replace the stolen kegs. It is an industry-wide problem.”
Finding the Connection
The connection was soon realized as it affected multiple sister companies managed by Soave Enterprises, including Ferrous Processing & Trading.
Roger Bushnell, Ferrous Processing & Trading‘s (FPT) Vice President of Non–Ferrous Metals, learned of this concern soon after it developed. “Because of our relationship with Soave Enterprises sister companies CITY Beverage and Kalamazoo Beer Distributing, FPT quickly became involved in spreading awareness to our industry. The wide–ranging portfolio of companies managed by Anthony Soave…allowed us to gain knowledge of the growing number of keg thefts early on.” FPT, CITY Beverage-Markham, and Kalamazoo Beer Distributing are all part of the Soave Enterprises family.
In addition to the cooperation between Ferrous Processing & Trading and the Soave family of businesses, industry associations have now joined together to actively deter the illegal practice. To raise awareness, the Beer Institute, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc., and the Brewers Association issued a joint letter to recyclers with the simple message: “Don‘t accept beer kegs at your facility.” The letter also provided window stickers warning would–be thieves that beer kegs should be returned to local beer wholesalers or retailers.
“If there is no available market, the kegs will be returned to the retailer, and ultimately, the distributor,” noted Bushnell. In Michigan, brewers were recently allowed to raise the keg deposit and the market is correcting itself. Illinois legislators have passed a law making it illegal for scrap recyclers to accept kegs.
FPT is doing its part to stop the unwelcome practice. “Our ongoing and historical policy is not to accept kegs,” Bushnell firmly noted.
About Ferrous Processing & Trading
Ferrous Processing & Trading is one of North America’s premier processors, sellers, and recyclers of scrap metals of all kinds. They are supported by the unique skills and experience of the management, commercial, and operations teams. Their ownership assures both financial strength and a deep commitment to the industry and their customers. FPT’s reputation is built on the core values of integrity, expertise, responsiveness, and creativity in the scrap metal recycling industry.
Ferrous Processing & Trading is a key supplier to the metals industry of North America. They are also a major scrap metals management company for the U.S. auto industry. From every stage of the metal recycling process from the assembly line to the used parts pile then through the scrap processing yard and into the furnace, FPT has the right answers for handling and marketing metal.
Ferrous Processing & Trading
3400 E. Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48207