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Recycling for over a Century

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Letter from our President - Jeff Padnos

Jeff PADNOS

Welcome! I've sometimes introduced myself by saying that my grandfather was a "junk dealer," my father and uncle were "scrap processors," and that my brother, cousins and I are  "recyclers."   More recently, I've started to add that, with the next generation, we are moving into "sensible sustainability."

But underneath all those phrases, the passion has always been the same.  This passion starts with our people, and extends to all the materials we process and recycle, and to the energy we use doing this worthwhile work. 

For people, this means that a career at PADNOS can start with whatever skills and experience one might have, and extend as far as his or her ambition to work and learn might take them-- from sorter to superintendent, or from data entry to IT director. We provide extensive training on the job, as well as generous scholarship assistance for people to continue their education.  We even have a scholarship plan for employees' children.  We say at our annual summer picnic, "if one of your parents works at PADNOS, money should not be a barrier to your going to college...so study hard!".

Our commitment to best using our human resources also means that we strive to provide the best possible tools and equipment for each task, and improve our processes continuously.  We understand that productivity drives earnings, for each person and for all of us as a team 

Our commitment to people means that we place an extremely high value on being inclusive, and truly providing equal opportunity and treatment for all people.  It means that we consider it a privilege to be able to provide employment and career potential for people who have a hard time finding opportunities elsewhere.  Our attitude is, "if we would not throw a piece of metal away, why would we want to throw away a human being?"

For materials, our core work is to recover and recycle "paper, plastics, metals, and more," from manufacturing ("post industrial") as well as from every-day life ("post consumer").  But our work is not limited to the physical shredding or baling or transporting that we might do.  It starts with thinking:  thoughtfully analyzing the opportunity at hand, so that we can provide our business partners with a comprehensive system to make it easy and efficient for them to maximize the value of whatever they have.  The system must include practical but reliable controls for tracking materials all the way until final, accurate payment.

This essential "thinking" part of the recycling job means that although our physical processing yards are all in Michigan, our Scrap Management team successfully adds value for companies all over  North America.  And of course we ship finished products all over the world.  So wherever you are, don't let physical distance stop you from contacting us to see how we might work together.

Our passion to best use all resources means that we are willing to go the extra mile to find a way to recycle new or  difficult items.  This might include high-tech R & D to push technology to recover ever smaller slivers of wire from the cars we shred.  Or it might mean making the extra effort to pull drawers out of refrigerators before we shred them, so that we can recycle the plastic instead of landfilling it.  It also means that we work with our business partners to be a "one-stop shop" for ALL the materials they want to recycle, often enabling this by combining several different materials onto one shipment.

Closely related to all this is our passion to make best use of our energy resources.  Recycling materials can be a huge energy saver overall, but to achieve the highest savings, it is essential to minimize logistics costs.  We think hard up front to provide the optimum scrap handling containers at our customers' facilities.  This starts inside a plant, to get the scrap from the place where it is generated to the right-sized container for transport, all the while keeping different materials separated to assure that they retain their best use and value.   No other recycler anywhere provides as many different options for handling and transporting scrap as we do at PADNOS.

Our commitment to best use energy resources is evident throughout our plants and operations. We constantly challenge ourselves to identify the best things to measure to assure that we are remaining as efficient as possible, and that we are continually improving.  We strive for maximum efficiency in everything we do, from the latest in lighting fixtures to software design. At our plastics recycling building in Wyoming, Michigan, we put Michigan's largest (when installed) solar power generation system on the roof, and one our region's first CNG stations on the same site.

In dealing with others, we are guided by the fundamental value of treating others in the way we would like to be treated.  If it ever seems that we are falling short of that, we ask anyone, employee, customer or supplier, or community member, to tell us about it, and we will do our best to improve.  Elsewhere on this page you will see our Values Statement.  We worked hard when we wrote this many years ago, before any of us thought much about having a website or what might go on it.  I am pleased to say that when we sat down to discuss what we should put here on this page, we could not think of anything to change.

Jeff Padnos,
President. 

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TEDxGrandRapids

Scrap Metal

West Michigan Industry

Generations

Art Sculptures made of Scrap

Art Sculptures made of Scrap


Stuart Padnos was known for saying, "Scrap is beautiful, beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Inspired by his artist wife, Stuart designed magnificent sculptures made of scrap metal recycled at PADNOS.  His artwork is displayed throughout Michigan including "sculpture row" on Pine Avenue in Holland, at President Ford's Museum in Grand Rapids, Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and Grand Valley State University. 

PADNOS donated the copper used in the making of the majestic horse conceptualized by Leonardo Da Vinci in the 15th century, which is installed at the Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. 

Additionally, PADNOS contributed the material and the labor for fabrication of sculptures designed by the Zhou Brothers and installed at the artists' Sculpture Park in Watervliet, Michigan. 


Working at PADNOS

Working at PADNOS


PADNOS employs over 500 people operating 20 recycling locations throughout Michigan. Many opportunities for employment exist at every level for smart problem solving candidates.  Our criteria is a positive attitude combined with a strong work ethic .  Contact us to learn how you can establish a life-long career.

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Innovation at PADNOS

Leading Through Innovation


Innovation is a key principle and success factor at PADNOS. Employees generate an average of 1,600 continuous improvement ideas each year.  New innovation leverages all facets of our business, driving improvements in yours.  

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Community Involvemet PADNOS

Community


For over 100 years we have continued to challenge ourselves to reinvest in our employees, our families and the communities we serve. From developing community outreach programs to helping preserve the environment, we are strongly committed to helping your community reach its potential.

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The Founding of PADNOS

As a teenager, Louis Padnos traveled from Russia to the Netherlands and finally arrived in the United States at the beginning of the 1900s. He spent a few years peddling clothing, tools and utensils in Michigan and Wisconsin. He began visiting local sawmills, creameries and farms, trading his goods for old iron that he shipped to Chicago. Louis settled in Holland, Michigan in 1905. In 1917 Louis Padnos, not yet a citizen, was drafted into the United States Army and served during World War I. When he returned, he married Helen Kantor and they had two sons, Seymour and Stuart who eventually took over the business. In 1920 Louis bought an existing scrap yard on East Eighth Street in Holland.

Helen was an equal partner in this new venture. When Louis fell ill, she ran the business and the family affairs single-handedly for almost a year. In 1932 Helen and Louis expanded the business by purchasing real estate from the bankrupt Ottawa Furniture Company on River Avenue.

PADNOS continues to be a family business with four generations working to innovate the recycling industry. PADNOS has grown to 20 locations, employs over 500 people, and has been recycling for over a century.

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