Recycling and Project Clean Up Begins

November 20, 2011 - This week we turned our attention to cleaning up the site, and even made a little money taking some of the iron scrap to the recycling yard in Houston. We also talked with a prospective tenant for units 9 & 10, and decided to build out one interior room for the unit. This required that we clean up and organize the materials left over from the build.

Throughout the project, when we cut out walls it resulted in drops from the corten steel. We also had drops from the tubing and pipe we cut for handrails and supports. We put the iron into two separate piles. One pile contained materials that could possibly be used somewhere else on the job, and the other pile was for scrap that was too small to reuse. We did this with both steel and wood. This week, we culled through the piles and took our first load of steel to the recycling yard and disposed of the wood that was not possible to reuse.The trip to the scrap yard was really interesting.

We called around to several scrap yards and all were paying about $.11/pound for scrap iron. We decided on going to Rose Steel in Houston, and loaded up the pickup truck to the rails and made the 30 mile drive.  When we got to the yard, they first use a portable device to scan the load to determine if there is any radioactive materials in the scrap. For example, they will not accept microwave ovens, and some drill pipe with high levels of radioactivity.  The initial weighing of the truck was just under 6,000 lbs.

From the scale, I drove into the yard which was filled with large cranes that had either grappling claws or magnets to move the metal. I positioned my truck, and within seconds the large magnet pulled almost all the iron from the bed in a single lift. The crane operator was careful to dial down the power of the magnet so it did not pull the metal toolbox from the truck. Since other cranes were moving scrapped vehicles around the yard, there was no doubt that with just a twist of the dial, he could have put my truck on top of the pile.

I was then directed to a second scale where they weighed my empty vehicle. I went into the office where I was required to give my thumbprint, my drivers license, and my picture. There are scrap metal thieves and this level of security helps to catch them (good!). The total haul was just over 1000 lbs, and I left the yard $118 richer. It was nice to post this amount to the income side of the project ledger.  We have at least two more loads of scrap to take to the yard, and I am looking forward to getting the job site cleaned and ready to go.

Brian Egan of Southwest Building Products came by with the counter tops he cut for the summer kitchen. To say this man-made material is beautiful would be an understatement. It looks as nice as any natural material, but made of recycled glass and concrete.  Next week we will find a stone mason to put a bull nose profile around the edge of the counter top. It looks like something we can do ourselves, but the tools needed would be over $300, and it may be less just to hire it out.

We had a prospective tenant visit us this week and express interest in units 9 & 10. The build out he requested is one we have considered before, so we decided to do it even without having a lease in place. We added a room to the back of the unit using materials left over from the job. Besides buying a few pieces of Sheetrock and a half-dozen 2" x 4", we were able to use the left over products. Next week we will float and tape the walls, then texture and paint them.  Later we will add a door, and some trim needed for the room. We will be using recycled wood floors that were salvaged from my house after an insurance claim from hurricane Ike. 

On Saturday, we put the branches and limbs from the trees that died in the drought, along with some of the wood scraps from the project in a pile and burned them. The burn ban which has been in place for much of the year was recently lifted and this allowed us get rid of these items without adding more to our local landfills.