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Niche recycling business opening in Whiteside County

A Florida recycling company is getting close to starting operations at 25460 Deer Run in Sterling, in the former home of House's Truck and Auto Repair.
A Florida recycling company is getting close to starting operations at 25460 Deer Run in Sterling, in the former home of House's Truck and Auto Repair.

STERLING – A recycling company is getting close to starting operations in the building it bought last year in Whiteside County.

Florida-based A-Fine Solutions acquired the building at 25460 Deer Run from the owners of House’s Truck and Auto Repair, when the latter decided to close.

A-Fine Solutions was started by CEO Sam Jacobs, who has been in the scrap metal business since 1977. He started A-Fine in 2012, after his family business was bought out. The Nebraska native now lives in Florida, but the company’s only recycling facilities are in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and now Illinois. Machinery is manufactured in Florida.

His business is not your typical recycling operation. As Jacobs saw the costs of shredding raw materials skyrocket, and the industry become more competitive, his company set out to find a way to recover more of the byproducts.

A-Fine gets its materials from different shredders and extracts what remains before it goes to the landfills. It does metals, mainly copper, brass and aluminum – no plastics – and it doesn’t accept product from the general public.

“We rerun the metals in different machines so we can get another 10% of byproduct out of it before it’s taken to the landfill,” Jacobs said. “We’re really not in competition with anyone else, we just work with other recyclers to get everything we can out of it.”

The highly mechanized business will require only two to five employees. A couple of shipments will leave the site daily.

The company was drawn to the Whiteside County site because it fit all of the project criteria.

“We didn’t need a very big building for our purposes, and we thought this was a nice location just off [U.S. Route] 30,” Jacobs said.

A fence was installed around the building. While Jacobs would like to have the business operational in the next 90 days, the zoning must be changed from commercial to heavy industrial. Rock Falls will have a say in the county zoning proceedings because it is within 1 1/2 miles of the business.

The zoning petition process hasn’t started yet, and the company has not inquired about Whiteside/Carroll Enterprise Zone incentives, county officials said.

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