The Angley family can point to their children for both the inspiration to be more “green” and the opportunity to develop a new business.
Rob and Judy Angley are the owners of Green Team Recycling, a new business in Blount County. They say that sometimes it is children who teach parents to do the right thing, and that sometimes doing that right thing can lead to new opportunities.
Angley daughters Emmallee, 8, and Maycee, 5, brought the idea for recycling home to their parents after teachers at Maryville Christian School encouraged their students to be more environmentally responsible at home.
“Emmallee and Maycee started (recycling) for us when they were in school at Maryville Christian School,” Rob Angley said.
It was after fire destroyed the family’s Morganton Road home, and the family had to move into a hotel that the idea for the new business was born.
“We were in a hotel suite, and they didn’t have a recycling bin,” said Judy. “Maycee, with the clarity of youth, said, ‘Do we not save the Earth just because we’re in a hotel?’ She was that invested in recycling. We had no where to put our clothes but she wanted a recycling bin.”
Rob said that while the family stayed in a hotel and then with friends where curbside recycling wasn’t available, he and Judy got the idea for a new business. “The light came on, and we said, ‘Let’s start this. It is a service that is needed,’” he said.
Judy said they felt it was a good business plan because no one at the time was servicing the whole county. “We decided to do all of Blount County,” said Judy. “If your address is in Blount County, we’ll come to it.”
Research on the Internet to learn about different aspects for providing curbside recycling followed, said Judy. “We researched it on the Internet and took the good from each thing we found,” she said of recycling business best practices.
The couple opted to work with Spectre Recycling in Louisville. “We take all our stuff to Spectre, and he sells it,” Judy said. Spectre is a regional recycling company based in Maryville.
By the first of February, the couple had their plan ready to go and opted to use their fellow parents at Maryville Christian School as a test market.
“We thought we would send emails to moms and check the interest level,” said Judy. “If it worked, we would do it. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t. It worked, and the business was born.”
From the post cards and email sent to fellow MCS families, the Angley’s got 20 responses in the first hour from folks wanting to sign up.
“We said, ‘We need to do this.’ We went to Wal-Mart and bought bins because people wanted to start immediately.”
The Green Team started with a pick-up truck with Rubbermaid bins in the back, said Rob.
As they worked, they researched and grew, using a company they found on the Internet called Fibrex that specializes in the recycling bins.
“We had to purchase recycling bins and distributed those to customers who signed up,” Rob said. “We had to have them ‘overnighted’ because we needed them so desperately. We ordered 25 bins and were out in a week. We ordered 50 more and ran out. We were continually having to buy.”
The couple finally bit the bullet and bought 200 bins. “We knew we would need them,” Rob said.
The Green Team business address says it is in Knoxville, but the family and the business is a Maryville business, Judy says. “Our friend in Knoxville has a UPS store gave us a deal on a post office box, so we took it,” said Judy. “We actually live in Blount County and we’re a Maryville business.”
Rob Angley said one quality that attracts customers is the local touch. “We live in Blount County, and we really want to help clean it up: 346 tons of garbage goes to the landfill in Blount County every day, and that is way too much,” he said.
The Green Team offers curbside recycling to the entire county. They have customers in Seymour, Happy Valley, Nebo Mountain and Townsend, Judy said. “We go everywhere. When they call us and say, ‘You do all of Blount County?,’ we know it is way out there. That’s the way you build a customer base -- by going everywhere and getting the recycling. Our goal is 5,000 customers, and we have about 220.”
Judy said they accept for recycling aluminum, paper, newspaper, glass, cardboard and plastics numbered 1 through 7. They recently started doing scrap metal.
“Customers just have to tell us in advance, and we’ll pick up their scrap metal. We do anything that can be recycled in Tennessee,” he said. There are things they can’t do, such as Styrofoam. “Tennessee won’t recycle it even though it can be done. There is a hazardous gas that is released when it breaks down, and you have to have a specific machine to do it.”
Judy said many people don’t realize what all they can recycle and how simple it is.
“It is so much easier than you think, and we try to make it easy as possible through having a single stream of recycling. Everything goes in one bin, and we sort it to make it easy,” Rob said.
The Green Team offers weekly and bi-weekly recycling pick ups. Initially, said Judy, folks will sign up for bi-weekly and then call back later for weekly.
“You don’t realize how much you have until you start doing it. They also find that their trash is probably half of what it used to be,” she said. “We had a single elderly lady who wanted monthly pick ups and called yesterday and wanted to go weekly. She lives by herself and has more than enough recycling to fill up a bin weekly.”
Rob said the most exciting part is that people are so enthusiastic about having the recycling service. “People are excited to have recycling available in their area. They leave us letters on our bins saying, ‘Hurray for the Green Team. Thank you so much for providing this service,’” he said. “It is the great response from the customers that has been the greatest part for me.”
Judy Angley said they charge $15 a month for weekly pick up and $10 a month for bi-weekly pickup. “There is a $20 set up if you get one bin. That includes the bin and the first month’s service,” she said. “We come right to their door to get it. We’ll do whatever is convenient for you.”
The Angleys have tried to give back to those original customers at their children’s school who helped them get their start. They mark the recycling they pick up from Maryville Christian School customers. “Whatever we sell we give a donation back to Maryville Christian School for them for helping us,” said Judy.
Judy said she enjoys seeing how customers are getting their children involved. “Kids love it. Our kids and their teachers are really pushing recycling, and it is in all the science classes and in ‘Weekly Reader.’ The Disney Channel has ‘Green Team’ monkeys,” said Judy. “If we throw this or that away, our 5-year-old goes through the trash looking for recycling. She can’t throw anything away.”
Judy Angley said the challenging aspect of starting the company has been setting up the day-to-day aspects of the operation. “We’ve been very blessed getting our billing company and data base and spread sheet software so customer can pay electronically,” she said. “Picking up the recycling is easy. It’s all the background stuff people don’t see that is the challenging part.”
To contact The Green Team, go to www.Greenteamrecyclingtn.com, call 865-356-6252 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another company in Blount County that does recycling is Maryville Curbside Recycling, owned by Lori Fuller.
“We are primarily in the city, but we can go throughout Blount County,” said Lori.
Maryville Curbside Recycling can be reached at www.maryvillecurbsiderecycling.com; by calling 865-719-5674 or email at email@example.com.
The service is $12 per month, billed in quarterly increments with a $25 initial charge for the bin and first month service and set-up.
Spectre Recycling is located on Robert C. Jackson Drive in Maryville. They can be reached at 865-982-2995.