Neil Farans, President
Neil Farans of Eastern
Environmental Technologies (EET) didn’t set out to
recycle hazardous materials, and unlike many in the recycling
industry, he wasn’t born into it. Nor did he research
the business and decide that it was a moneymaker.
Farans took a rather interesting
route into the business, beginning with an “independent
gasoline business” that he owned at the time. This
was before the big names owned the market, and independent
gas stations were a common sight.
In his body shop, an energy
efficiency program had begun, and one step was the removal
of all the lighting, replacing it with more energy-efficient
lights. A salesman came in and offered a deal on replacing
all the lights, and Farans agreed.
“They left all the
ballasts on the floor,” Farans said, explaining that
he hadn’t realized that he was going to be stuck with
the ballasts that had been removed from the old lights.
A little research told him that there was no way to properly
dispose of the material – about the only option he
had was to store the material on his property indefinitely.
Farans found out that
the problem with the ballasts was the PCBs, and that he
wasn’t the only one with this problem. He decided
to find a solution, and consulted with experts in Washington
who explained that “as long as the PCBs are separated,
the metal can be recycled.”
In 1985, EET was incorporated
as an environmental consulting company. By 1990, the company
was specializing in PCB waste removal. “We were the
pioneers of recycling ballasts,” Farans said.
Today, the company handles
a wide variety of hazardous waste materials, including PCB
and non-PCB ballasts, lamps, computer scrap, batteries,
scrap containing mercury, waste oil and chemicals, and asbestos.
Material that is recyclable
gets separated and recycled. The hazardous materials get
incinerated or disposed of properly in a hazardous waste
EET operates nationwide
with only seven employees. The company has EPA permits in
states that require them, and uses DOT approved carriers
to transport the material from customer sites.
what they’re doing,” Faran said of his employees.
“It’s nice to feel that you’re doing something
good.” As for him, Farans said, “I am in for
protecting what environment we have left. It costs to get
rid of things, but we need to protect it. What we’re
doing, we’re doing for the good, rather than destroying
Recycling some hazardous
materials has become easier than when Farens first started
the business. He said, “The best thing the government
did was the universal waste rule. People are willing to
recycle, if there isn’t a lot of paperwork.”
Farans explained that
the universal waste rule makes it easier for people and
businesses to dispose of products properly. As a result,
more gets recycled.
EET makes the recycling
as easy as possible for customers, handling all of the paperwork
“from cradle to grave.” He noted that selling
his services can be difficult because “people are
trying to save every penny.” But when it comes to
hazardous material, “you can’t dump it,”
he said. “Fines and lawsuits are a lot more expensive
than recycling or proper disposal.”