CAROLINA April 22, 2017 – Gerdau is one of the largest recyclers in North
America. Ninety-eight percent of its steel is produced from scrap metals that
come from everyday things, such as automobiles and old stoves. Gerdau’s
Charlotte mill used 184,255 net tons of scrap in 2016.
But at the
Charlotte mill, there’s more recycling going on than melting scrap into steel
Charlotte employees have a continuous cellphone drive for the Cabarrus Victims Assistance Network, a local women’s
shelter. Twice a year, employees drop off collected cellphones at the
“As part of the
Gerdau culture, protecting our environment is a value for all our employees,”
Bob Churchill, Gerdau Charlotte’s safety and environmental manager, said.
“Repurposing is a great way to provide these items to those in need.”
Since the early
2000s, Gerdau Charlotte has donated about 500 cellphones a year. The Human
Resources and Safety departments came up with the idea. Logistics Clerk Peggy
Patrick has been involved with the collection and delivery since the start of
the project, as well as establishing contacts and generating employee
Last year, the
shelter helped 1,855 women and children, and it takes 125 calls a month on its
24-hour domestic violence help hotline.
and cool thing about cellphones is that we can do a couple of different things
with them,” Rebecca Moffett, assistant director of the shelter, said. “We can
charge it, and even if a woman doesn’t have cell service, she can use it to
Moffett said if
there is a surplus of cellphones, the shelter takes them to a recycler and
receives money which can be used to help run the shelter and its programs.
Charlotte also collects safety glasses and employee reading glasses through a
donation box in its main office. The glasses are repurposed and given to the
Lions Club, which donates the glasses to local shelters. The initiative has
been going on for eight years. Recently, Gerdau Charlotte donated 25 pairs of
cartridges from Gerdau Charlotte are donated to the Lions Club, as well. The
club is then reimbursed from the printer manufacturers, and the club uses the
money from the cartridges to support charity efforts in the community.
these items in a landfill is a cost that is not necessary,” Churchill said. “We
have an opportunity to contribute to our community and show our support as a
long-term business in the Charlotte area.”
It’s not only
people in need who benefit from Gerdau Charlotte’s recycling efforts – the
environment does too.
Charlotte receives defective batteries from major suppliers such as Energizer,
Duracell, Asheboro Recycling, Battery Solutions and Spectrum Brands. Around
four to five truck loads, or about 72 tons per month, are recycled the same way
scrap metals are recycled.
began in 2012 with only a couple of suppliers and has grown over the years.
“Giving back to
Charlotte and surrounding communities is an obligation,” Churchill said.