As the manager of a supermarket in Ulfborg, Denmark, Kristian Skannerup was appalled by the amount of debris that the store generated everyday.
Before the store closed he had to stack the packing crates, sweep up the Styrofoam cups and plastic casings and generally clean up the mess to drag outside so that it could be hauled away.
While dealing with the piles of trash, Mr. Skannerup was seeking what he calls “a green solution” for dealing with the “waste stream” of trash in keeping with Denmark’s determination to set environmentally conscious standards.
Since the global oil crisis in the early 1970s, Denmark’s government has sought to free itself from the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, especially oil that had to be imported, and has strived to be a leader in the environmentally conscious movement.
It’s no surprise then that Mr. Skannerup’s trash compactors, which are powered by compressed air instead of hydraulics, are promoted for their environmental friendliness as well as their simplicity.
His original compactors are about the size of a small refrigerator or filing cabinet and fit easily into the rear spaces of a restaurant or store.
The company’s balers are larger and can handle more challenging trash than paper and cardboard products such as polystyrene containers in which electronic components often are shipped.
Convinced that his new air-powered compressor was a marketable innovative solution, Mr. Skannerup founded Mil-tek Recycling & Waste Solutions Inc. in 1992.
The popularity of his compressors and balers has enabled the company to expand its sales to 30 countries with 93 percent of their products being exported, according to Bryan Wingfield, president and CEO of the company’s U.S. affiliate, who spoke with GlobalAtlanta while visiting Atlanta in April.
With 84 percent of the company’s revenue coming from Europe and 12 percent from Asia, Mr. Skannerup decided last year to enter the United States by establishing a nationwide network of distributors.
The distributors are required to put up $40,000 to have exclusive rights over a certain area and then have to buy the equipment that they then can sell or lease. Mil-tek provides training on the use of the machines and sales support.
Mil-tek’s first U.S. office was established in Ashburn, Va., in Washington’s metro area in February of last year, and has established distributors in surrounding states as well as in Georgia. The company plans is to attract from 30-35 exclusive distributors throughout the U.S.
Jim B. Wernick, a landscape architect with an environmental design degree from the University of Georgia, heard of Mil-tek through a network of friends and was so impressed he bought the exclusive rights for Georgia earlier this year.
Based in Cumming, Mr. Wernick has purchased 14 machines and opened a showroom. He also has hired a technician, a salesperson and an administrative assistant.
He told GlobalAtlanta that his demonstrator models already have compacted between 600-700 pounds of cardboard and invites prospective buyers to visit the showroom at 5050 Wallace Drive.
“My greatest challenge has been educating the owners to the advantages of these compressors in comparison to the way that they are used to removing their trash,” he said of prospective customers.
He currently is focused on restaurants and auto dealers and their service centers that receive large amounts of cardboard packaging, but he expects to expand his sales efforts throughout the state to include colleges, hospitals, hotels and manufacturers.
His five-year plan calls for approaching grocery stores and the fishing industry along the Georgia coast with its compactors for the EPS 1800 machine that compresses polystyrene, which is used to package seafood. The plan also calls for him to participate in programs to educate youths about sustainable practices.
While still in the early stages of its U.S. initiative, Prince Henrik, the husband of Denmark’s queen, Margrethe II, gave Mil-tek a royal marketing boost when he visited its newly established headquarters in Virginia last year.
Mr. Wernick doesn’t expect to see such a visit any time soon. But he wouldn’t be disappointed if he did.
To learn more about Mil-tek products, go to www.miltekusa.com.
Mr. Wernick may be reached by calling (404) 857-1113 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org