alter auto shredding plant
Alter's own network of shredders will help to supply Altech Recycling's heavy media plant.
Photo courtesy of Alter Trading Corp.

Alter Corp., Toyota Tsusho America form partnership

Altech Recycling LLC is constructing a heavy media plant that will produce aluminum products.

January 26, 2021

Scrap processing and trading company Alter Trading Corp., headquartered in St. Louis, says it has partnered with Toyota Tsusho America Inc. (TAI) to form Altech Recycling LLC, which is constructing a metals separation plant in Arkansas to produce aluminum products from shredded scrap. The new company’s output will supplement demand at TAI production facilities as well as supply other business partners in North America.

Jack Grundfest, senior vice president and chief administrative officer of Alter, says, “Alter Trading and Toyota Tsusho have a longstanding relationship, and this joint venture was a logical next step for the two companies.”

He declined to disclose each company’s ownership stake in Altech, saying, “We don’t discuss details of transactions, but I can tell you that this partnership benefits both parties on a number of levels. Alter is the operating partner working very closely with TAI.”

TAI is the North American-based affiliate of Toyota Tsusho Corp. of Japan, a member of the Toyota Group, which also includes Toyota Motor, Toyota Industries, Aichi Steel, JTEKT, Toyota Auto Body, Aisin Seiki, Denso, Toyota Boshoku, Towa Real Estate, Toyota Central R&D Labs, Toyota Motor East Japan, Toyoda Gosei, Hino Motors, Daihatsu Motor, Toyota Home and Toyota Motor Kyushu.

The Altech plant will convert zorba, which is a mixed-metal shredded scrap grade primarily comprised of aluminum, supplied by Alter and other shredder operators as needed to meet market demands, according to a news release from Alter. Altech Recycling’s heavy media plant will produce two main products from the zorba it processes: a clean aluminum product known in the industry as twitch and secondary products that are commonly referred to as heavies.

Altech Recycling will sell its products, which Grundfest describes as “the highest quality products available,” to TAI as well as to consumers around the globe as market demands dictate.

“The vast majority of the twitch will be for domestic consumption at Toyota Tsusho facilities, while the heavies will be sold to export customers for further processing,” he adds.

Initially, Altech Recycling will employ approximately 25 people and will be located on Central Airport Road in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Altech is scheduled to begin operations in the second quarter of 2021.

Alter has a network of nearly 20 auto shredders in the U.S., two of which are operated by Tenenbaum Recycling Group, which Alter purchased in 2018, in North Little Rock and Rogers, Arkansas. The Altech location is approximately 2 miles east of the TRG shredder, Grundfest says, and was included in the purchase of TRG. “That property offered the perfect start for this project,” he says. “As the project progressed, it became clear that this was a value-added location in North Little Rock because of its central location and location in a city that has a very pro-business mentality.”

“We are proud to be joining forces with one of the world’s global business leaders on this project,” says Alter President and CEO Jay Robinovitz. “The combined talents and strengths of the two entities will provide a quality long-term solution to suppliers, consumers and business partners.”

“At TAI, we are committed to generating value in our communities and the marketplace by creating solutions beneficial to all,” says Shawn O’Connor, TAI vice president and head of the Metals division. “TAI’s innovative collaboration with Alter, a company well-known and respected for its recycling expertise and track record, is a testament to what is possible when we team up for the good of not only business but society.”

Toyota Tsusho Corp. operates in more than 120 countries with approximately 66,000 employees. TAI and affiliates have been operating in North America for more than 60 years to support the automotive business of Toyota Group companies and other automotive industry original equipment manufacturers. Some of TAI’s existing green supply chain initiatives include operations in postconsumer and postproduction scrap metal collection and conversion to secondary aluminum alloys, along with closed-loop recycling with its customer base.

Founded in 1898, Alter is a privately owned, fifth-generation company that is ISO 9001 and 14001 certified. The company employs 1,325 people and operates 70 metal recycling facilities and seven trading offices in eight states, along with its representative sales office in Hong Kong.