8 Companies Play Growing Role in Northern Michigan Economy

American Waste

One man. One garbage truck. Kalkaska location. Those were the beginning components of American Waste way back in 1971. The corporate story has had a number of twists and turns since then, including selling the entire company, then buying back some. But the upshot is that today, American Waste creates Northern Michigan jobs, employing 350 people and is comprised of two divisions- a waste hauling and recycling division, and an environmental and industrial services division.

The company has received a good deal of statewide attention recently as it has revealed the remarkable recycling rates it achieves from municipal solid waste. Thanks to a state-of-the-art sorting line that the company built in a giant former auto parts factory in Traverse City, the company can accept bags of regular household garbage and reclaim up to 50 percent of the waste, a rate that puts it near the top of the industry nationwide. “Only two other companies in Michigan are doing recycling from municipal solid waste,” says Kelly Ignace, director of marketing.

As for growth in hiring, half of American Waste’s employees have joined the company in the past 24 months. While future hiring might not quite match that pace, Ignace expects hiring as the company expands into new markets.

Matt McCormick, Customer Service Representative (Hired: February 2013)

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