Article from Columbus Business First by Craig Lovelace
Walking through the plant of Weisenbach Recycled Products and absorbing the different products made there, it becomes easier to understand why the company’s president and owner hesitated when asked to describe the business in one sentence.
Dan Weisenbach rejects the idea his family business is a promotional products company and he equally dismisses the notion it caters more to retailers. But he was able to describe what the business on the near east side of Columbus does.
“We manufacture products from recycled products,” he says. “And we make tons of products and sell them to a ton of people.”
The company’s clients include the likes of Intel, Wal-Mart and Lowes, and buttons, trophies, frames, sunglasses, soy crayons, magnets, awards and something called the Kamarang – an indoor boomerang made from recycled plastic milk jugs – are part of Weisenbach’s diverse product lines. Other materials used in the business include recycled glass beer bottles and circuit boards that are turned into picture frames. All the paper is recycled and soy ink is used in the printers, as well.
The two top-selling products are recycled funnels and spouts and pens (foam coffee cups) and pencils (denim fabric pieces).
“Denim scraps are shredded and ground to a fibrous powder then compounded with polystyrene resin,” Weisenbach said. “The resulting plastic, containing 30 to 35 percent cotton denim, is co-extruded with graphite resin.”
Weisenbach’s patented spout and funnel lines are designed to fit different types of containers and prevent spillage of oils and gasoline, for example.
“How many gallons of this have not been spilled onto the ground,” Weisenbach says attaching a spout to a gallon of Tiki Torch fluid, which is then poured into the container.
The company made a quarter million spouts and funnels last year that helped it exceed revenue of $2 million.
Working from its 12,000-square-foot building, the business is a tightly packed operation with 15 employees whose terms with the company average between 12 and 15 years. Machinery scattered throughout the plant lets them etch writing onto the pens and pencils, do offset printing and die cutting and sandblast etching onto glassware.
The business was founded in 1981 when Weisenbach and his parents opened a custom printing operation making items such as buttons and bumper stickers. The son took care of the production side. The family, he said, recycled before it became popular, but the business didn’t push into the movement until the later 1980s. Today, everything made is eco-friendly, which he said is a little more expensive to do.
“If we were to buy virgin materials, it would be so easy,” he said. “It’s a challenge to use recycled products.