(page 1 of 2)
Harley Hollan trash bins are blue on the outside, but they are totally green inside.
The company is one of the nation’s most environmentally conscious waste-removal enterprises, recycling up to 90 percent of the material it collects. And it collects a lot — in 2009, about 230,000 cubic yards, enough to cover more than 139 football fields a foot deep.
Most of Harley Hollan’s trash bins are the big, rolling variety, holding up to 30 cubic yards of material, seen at major construction and remodeling projects. But it also offers smaller containers for residential and small-business use.
And in 2009, it opened a public drop-off site at its facility near South 61st Street and Highway 169, where individuals can leave plastic, paper, cans and cardboard.
“We have a passion for trash,” says Nick Griego, director of sales and marketing for Harley Hollan.
Company founder Harley Hollan didn’t start out to be the state’s leading trash-bin recycler.
Hollan started an excavation and concrete business in 1998. But he needed a trash bin to collect debris from excavation sites, so he bought four of them in 2001.
He began recycling some material in 2002 — “metal, quick and easy stuff,” he says — but when he took other material to the landfill, “I saw a lot of stuff that I was pulling out was in the landfill. … I thought, we’ve got to get this going on a bigger scale.”
Noticing how much of what he was hauling to the landfill actually could be reused, Hollan began sorting and recycling material in 2004.
Then people began asking whether they could use or rent his trash bin or one like it.
“It started from there and grew to what it is now,” Griego says.
Once trash bins are emptied, material goes onto a 260-foot conveyor, where it is sorted — by hand — according to type. Most of that goes to various recycling projects; what’s left goes to a landfill.
One recent month, 23,396 cubic yards came in; 5,151 of those went to a landfill and 78 percent was recycled. White wood, with no paint or stain, is ground into mulch. Other wood also is ground, some for a colored mulch, some to be pressed into pellets to burn in wood stoves. The grinder has a magnet, which removes nails and metal remnants; that goes to metal recycling, along with wire and other metals.
Asphalt and shingles become a new mixture for asphalt. Concrete is crushed and becomes a new road base.
Harley Hollan even recycles Styrofoam.
“We’re the only company in the tri-state (area) with Styrofoam recycling,” Griego says. It becomes new Styrofoam.
Even dirt gets recycled — it goes to a landfill to be layered with other material to help decomposition.
“We are the last stop before it goes into the environment so we can control what goes into our landfills,” Griego says, “and that is an awesome responsibility.”
It wasn’t recycling that brought Hollan to Tulsa. It was family — and auto racing. He grew up in Amarillo, Texas, and moved with his family to Tulsa in 1994 so his parents could open an automobile lubrication and service shop, where he worked before starting his own company. There were also better opportunities here for his open-wheel, sprint-car type of racing.