A Special (Re)Purpose
Repurposing allows companies to reduce waste and enables farmers and ranchers to resolve issues in a cost-effective way.
By Laura Hardin | Photos By Cary Jobe
It was a critical issue for Tejas Feeders, Ltd.: The cattle were slipping on slick concrete while being weighed. Monty Wheeler, manager of the Pampa, Texas, feed yard, considered tearing out and repouring the concrete for better traction. It was an expensive solution, though, so he looked for other options. He heard of a company in Denver called repurposedMATERIALS, Inc., that was selling used industrial byproducts. When he saw the 36-foot mining tire treads in the company’s product listings, he had an idea.
“If we cut them and laid them side by side, it might solve our problem,” Wheeler recalls thinking. “It was worth a try.” To everyone’s relief, the tire treads have worked beautifully, eliminating the potential for injury to the animals at a fraction of the cost of replacing the concrete. “The treads are big and thick, and provide the traction we needed,” he says. “Plus, it’s quieter.”
Wheeler’s experience with the treads is exactly what repurposedMATERIALS owner Damon Carson hoped for when he founded the business in fall 2010. “Many cast-offs could easily be reused by someone else,” he says of his “repurposing” concept. “Just because they’ve reached the end of their original life cycle, it doesn’t mean they don’t still have life left in them.”
Repurposing allows companies to reduce waste and enables customers to resolve issues in a cost-effective way, says Carson. His inventory has expanded from vinyl billboard tarps (from $50) to include items like street sweeper brushes (from $125), which make excellent back scratchers for livestock, and 5- to 12-foot-diameter tires (from $150) that can be used as livestock feeders or watering troughs.
Agriculture is the top sales industry for repurposedMATERIALS. Having grown up in rural Kansas and understanding farm culture, Damon says that makes sense. “Our business is a complement to the American farmer,” he says. “They are probably the most resourceful people in the country; they’ve always had to creatively reuse products on the farm. Nothing goes to waste.”