Southfield-based Ideal Recycling plans to double staff

Most people’s commutes leave them a lot of time to think. Todd Foster’s gave him ample time to come up with a business idea.

The veteran waste-disposal worker got the bright idea of recycling asphalt shingles during his day job, and last year created Ideal Recycling.

“I was hauling all of this waste everyday to the landfills and weigh stations,” says Todd Foster, partner in Ideal Recycling. “I figured there must be a better way to do this, especially for shingles.”

He brought in Chris Edwards, a friend fresh from an automotive industry layoff, and started the business last year. Today it employs six and Foster expects his staff to double again within the next year.

The secrete behind the growth is shingles. Most landfills don’t want them because they are dense and messy to deal with. However, they are also petroleum based, which makes them ideal candidates for recycling into material for road asphalt. Michigan is still, slowly, catching onto that trend. It doesn’t allow as much recycled material in its asphalt as other states where recycling shingles into asphalt is common practice.

“It’s very popular on the East and West coasts,” Foster says. “It’s very popular in the greener states.”

Ideal Recycling has recycled about 9,000 tons of asphalt shingles so far and expects to double that by the end of this year. Future growth is expected, the key being the liberalization of the state’s asphalt recycling laws, which Foster sees happening sooner rather than later.

Source: Todd Foster, partner with Ideal Recycling
Writer: Jon Zemke