A visit to Lautenbach Industries quickly reveals why this company has grown exponentially over the years. The team at Lautenbach Industries is committed to great customer service, embraces new innovations in recycling, and invests deeply in their employees. EDASC learned more about this diversifying, growing business on a recent site tour and interview with the company's leadership.
Can you tell us about Lautenbach Industries?
Lautenbach Industries is a family-owned business that has been innovating recycling options in the community for over 25 years. Our main facility is located in Mount Vernon where we house a state of the art sort line, recycling operations, and our fleet of equipment which includes 20 trucks, 15 trailers, and over 400 roll off boxes in addition to excavators and front-end loaders. While we have grown and expanded our service offering into transportation services and the management of the San Juan Transfer Station, our focus has always been on providing environmentally sustainable waste management options with outstanding customer service.
How many employees work here in Skagit County?
We currently have approximately 50 employees at our Mount Vernon facility.
Who are your primary customers/clients?
We are a recycling company with a variety of service types which attracts a varied customer base. Our Construction and Demolition (C&D) Recycling Division serves clients from the homeowner working on a remodel to contractors building a new apartment complex and everything in between. Due to a recent reduction in recycling capabilities in the region, we are the only facility that is recycling wood, drywall, shingles, and other C&D materials so our primary customer base is expanding and changing. That’s exciting as we are always looking for our edge – opportunities to innovate and expand our service offerings.
Our Demolition Division offers full service estimating, demo, loading, hauling, and recycling. As Lautenbach is first and foremost a recycling company, we bring a unique perspective to the way we look at demolition projects. Our demo customers include homeowners, property managers, and commercial enterprises looking for sustainable solutions along with start to finish project support.
In addition to our C&D services, we partner with local digesters to provide a recycling option to transform organic materials into renewable energy in the form of biogas. Our primary customers for our Organics Division include farms, restaurants, and food processors.
Can you share a recent business success?
The Lautenbach Recycling facility is the only company north of California that is third party certified by the Recycling Certification Institute and the only facility in Washington State where contractors receive a LEED pilot credit simply for hauling to the facility. The requirements for this certification are rigorous and we are proud to have been able to achieve this milestone. Our recycling rate is impressive in the industry so it’s important for our customers to know that there are facts with publicly available evaluation reports and independent verification to back those numbers up.
Where do you see business growth opportunities, both in Skagit County and more broadly?
In Skagit County, we see an opportunity for growth in private self-haul customers as more people realize we welcome the public to drop off as well as taking in larger projects. We would like to see more local home and small business owners stopping by our scale prior to visiting the transfer station, which is conveniently located right next store. Our staff can help determine if we can accept their materials and potentially save them money while diverting recyclable waste from the landfill and doing something good for the environment. We are working hard to do a better job educating our customers as to what we can take.
What do you see as your company’s competitive advantage that sets it apart in your industry?
There is nobody else that truly does what we do in this area. There is no other local facility that is recycling C&D, so if it isn’t coming to Lautenbach it is going to landfill. For both contractors and clients with a focus on sustainability and recycling, that simply is not an acceptable option. We ensure that a viable, environmentally responsible, and economically reasonable option remains available here. We stay viable because of how we manage recyclables at our facility. Between site management and processes and the incredible sorting teams we have both on the ground and on a traditional sort line, we are able to recover an impressive percentage of material. Due to these factors, customers have the option to sort their C&D waste at their site or put it all into one container we call a ‘mixed box’. Being able to put everything together is an incredible advantage for homeowners and contractors that allows them to get the job done quicker with fewer boxes on site. When we receive the container, our sort line staff goes through and separates out the materials into appropriate categories. For a comparative or lesser amount of what it would cost to go to landfill, we can take a mixed box and ensure it is reviewed, sorted, and managed in an environmentally responsible manner. It’s a win for our customers and the environment!
Do you have an upcoming project or plan that you’d like to share with EDASC Investor members?
We are always looking for new and innovative ways to expand recycling in the community. As part of our education and outreach agenda, we will be scheduling community tours and events at our facility in the upcoming months and throughout the year. To stay up to date, follow Lautenbach Industries on Facebook or visit www.lautenbachrecycling.com.