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How it all Began: The Story of Gemaco

Gemaco Asphalt shingle recycling

In 1958 the company ‘Gemaco’ was born from the idea ‘Gem of A Company’. The original owner Garnet Marx, started by selling silos and other farm equipment to municipalities and eventually became the first Mercedes Benz dealer in Kelowna.

Gemaco eventually evolved to focus on selling and reusing waste reduction and heavy duty machinery.   

One lazy Okanagan long weekend, a family of professionals and entrepreneurs open to the possibility of owing a business and working together sat on a patio chatting about wanting to take their lives in a different direction. The discussion revolved around potentially buying ‘Gemaco’ a local business that was sale. Terry had been running family businesses his whole life and was tired of the daily grind. 

About a month later, in Sept 2007, Gemaco was purchased by a team of passionate and driven individuals.  

They knew right away they would have to offer something more. Terry began learning about the various equipment Gemaco offered and was drawn to the Rotochopper RG1 Shingle Grinder.  The team attended the 4th Annual Shingle Grinding Forum in 2009 and re-affirmed their  decision to branch out into an asphalt shingle recycling company.

Hilary came on board working in the company, January 2010, and in February 2010 the first solely dedicated shingle recycling facility in the lower mainland was opened.

 It has been a perfect storm for Terry Charles who states “I am finally in no rush to retire. I’m inspired and enjoying work. Every day I get to do what I love: talking to people, business development, inventing or rather reinventing and spending priceless time with family all while making the world a little bit greener”.Gemaco Asphalt Shingle Recycling

Road to Recycling : Asphalt Shingles in BC

Way back in May Hilary Hanna of Gemaco Sales presented at the RCBC Zero Waste Conference in Whistler, BC.  Below is her full presentation video. This is one you don’t want to miss!

Going Green – In more ways then 1

Nikos Kallas of MET Fine Printers had proved that greening your business can be profitable as well as fulfililng.

Before introducing its recycling program, Kallas added, MET spent about $3,000 per month on waste disposal. Now, it spends just $300 on average and even generates a small revenue from recycling waste

We are reaching an age of awareness where consumers are starting to realize that there are greener options out there for pretty much everything. As the implications of human actions become common knowledge people are willing to pay a bit more for environmentally conscious products.

Behavioural change is the KEY to success for many of these greener companies that have to pay a higher price for a sustainable product. So make your voice heard, and vote green with your wallet when making purchasing decisions.

See a complete list of green companies that Gemaco works with here.

To read more about the MET in the Vancouver Sun click here

Recycling Council of British Columbia Zero Waste Challenge

Well, here we are at the Westin Resort and Spa in Whistler and are well into the conference proceedings. I am feeling very inspired, supported and at home with my recycling peers. The desire to reinvent, create, and be part of a positive change in our lower mainland world is alive and thriving among the 300ish attendees.

We started off being entertained (read inspired) by a group of kids from Brakendale Elementary School. They sung songs of “voices of nature”, change, and asked us to be responsible as they were “counting on us” for a environmentally healthy future.

I was able to manage the lump in my throat listening while listening to the lyrics and watching the school children perform.

We are very excited to continue the conference and share in the desire to make a positive difference in our world.

Written By Hilary Hanna, Owner, Gemaco Sales

RCI Annual General Meeting Update

Gemaco’s Hilary Hanna recently attended the RCI Annual General Meeting & Conference on Feb 1, 2012.

As Vice President and an Owner of Gemaco, she represented the asphalt shingle recycling initiative by speaking to the group.  Hoping to educate and inspire those attending, Hilary spoke about the importance of repurposing this waste stream, the largest entering landfills in Metro Vancouver currently.  The RCI is an international association of professional consultants, architects, and engineers who specialize in the specification and design of roofing, waterproofing and exterior wall systems. In March of 2006, RCI (formerly Roof Consultants Institute) expanded its mission and service scope to include waterproofing and exterior walls with the understanding that roofing issues often influence the entire building envelope.

Gemaco’s Facility is currently prominently featured on the right hand side of the page in the news section!

Statistics Your Kids Will Thank You For

What a load of trash – all diverted from our landfills!

Since 2010 we at Gemaco have been patting ourselves and our ecopartners on the back for a job well done, but when we sat back and looked at the numbers we began to realize how significant the impact of one small team of passionate individuals can do.

Have a look at these numbers and if you get shivers like I did, leave us a comment:

2011 2010
3104 loads 1225 loads
7466 Tonnes 3393.70 T
Averages: Averages:
Trucks per day: 11.75 Trucks per day: 5
Tons per day: 28.28 Tons per day: 13.7
Tons per week: 143.57 Tons per week: 66.5
Tons per month: 622.16 Tons per month: 283.0
Metal recycled: 78.23 T Metal recycled: 37.59 T
Wood recycled: 259.33 T Wood recycled: 80.83 T
Plastic bottles saved from landfill: 4906 Plastic bottles saved from landfill: 1426
Tons used in roads: 6516 T Tons used in roads: 1152.16
Tons used for fuel: 803 T Tons used for fuel: 131.94

C&D World 2012

In one week today Gemaco’s Terry Charles will be heading to Nashville Tennessee for the Annual Meeting of the Construction Materials Recycling Association, C&D World 2012.

C&D World has been providing a venue for C&D Professionals from across the globe to learn and network since 1993. If you are involved or interested in the construction industry this conference is a must.

So pack your cowboy boots, and join Gemaco from the 25th to the 27th of March. Drop by the Rotochopper booth (#425) throughout the day or contact Terry directly if you are interested in meeting up or learning more about what Gemaco does.

Don’t forget to check out this presentation for more info on Shingle recycling:

Tuesday, March 27
8:30-9:15 am Shingle Recycling
Mostafa A. Elseifi, Ph.D., PE
Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University
Sponsored by GA

3 Reasons to Recycle your Shingles

Why NOT recycle your Shingles, Really?

There are so many reasons for recycling your shingles while you are in the process of getting a shiny new roof. Here are the top 3 reasons in my opinion:

1) It won’t cost you anything. Roofers have to dispose of shingles anyway. It is generally more expensive to take them to a dump than to a shingle recycling facility. I wouldn’t want to support a roofing company that PAYS MORE for a LESS SUSTAINABLE dumping method, would you?

And look at that – we just took that list of 4 billion roofing companies to a manageable number, and made your decision that much easier!

2) It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. And that is what is is all about. It is the same reason why we spend the time removing gluey paper labels from tin cans – recycling makes us feel good. Pitching in to ensure the sustainability of our planet for future generations is something we can talk about in coffee shops, and over business lunches. In a world where as much as 30 BILLION pounds of asphalt shingles are thrown in landfills every year, wouldn’t you want to be the person who starts tipping the scales the other way? And dont even get me STARTED on issues with landfills…

3) Recycled asphalt shingles = Safer roads. Extensive testing throughout the US has shown that paving mixes containing recycled asphalt shingles can perform better than asphalt mixes without recycled shingle waste. Asphalt pavement with recycled shingles has demonstrated an increased resistance to rutting and other advantages. Most of us spend a considerable amount of time on roads. Not only will these roads withstand the test of time (meaning less tax dollars for up-keep), and provide a safer smoother driving experience, just image how boggled your child’s mind will be when you tell them the road you are on used to be your roof!

So don’t be afraid to request your roofer bring your asphalt shingles to a recycling facility. In the long run they will be thanking you, and so will your planet!

Oil Extraction from Recycled Roofing Shingles’s Rick LeBlanc is continually posting fantastic articles about recycling in BC and North America. If BC is your home and recycling is important to you (as it should be) you should be following Rick’s articles. Gemaco has been lucky enough to be featured a few times on the site. Below is an excerpt about oil extraction from recycled shingles:

“Asphalt shingle recycling is a growing segment of the industry, and has enjoyed several markets for recycled asphalt shingles, especially for road work . However, the emergence of other new markets should help boost demand and improve prospects for recycling the approximate 11 million tons of scrap asphalt shingle material developed each year in the U.S.”

To read more of this article click here

Now, if BC is your home and you still believe recycling is not worth your time please take a moment and read about the importance of recycling. Do it for your children, and your children’s’ children, and their children…


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