Southside Recycling


Chicago, Illinois


RMG Investment Group LLC & Subsidiaries


Knight EA Inc.


  • Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer
  • Super-high efficiency filtering system to reduce volatile organic compounds
  • 7 buildings classified as Hazardous Use
  • 2 ponds for storm water management and water treatment
  • 12 months on-site


Southside Recycling processes and recycles the areas discarded metal products, including obsolete metal from demolition projects, automobiles, and kitchen appliances. Southside Recycling anticipates recycling over 740 tons of obsolete metal products annually, which is approximately the same amount as all the garbage collected each year in the City of Chicago.

In building a new recycling facility, Southside Recycling invested in industry leading best practices, including a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) and a super-high efficiency filtering system necessary to reduce any volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from being released into the atmosphere. This is the most environmentally friendly recycling facility in the United States combining state of the art equipment while addressing the concerns of the new neighbors. As they transition operations to the new site, the new facility creates and preserves good paying jobs in Chicago.

The project is unique, requiring the team to spend time understanding the purpose and functionality of the distinctive pieces of equipment that we would be installing and providing appropriate structural support and utility services to. The project entailed building an industrial metals processing plant consisting of 7 buildings classified as Hazardous Use on a 25 acre site.

The project's aggressive schedule was made more difficult coupled with the start of a global pandemic within the first month of breaking ground. The supply chains and transportation lines were closely monitored since many materials and equipment were coming from Mexico, Germany, and other parts of Europe. Daily coordination efforts via telephone conference calls and by virtual meetings were challenging due to the complexity of the facilities and precision that was required to ensure everything would fit appropriately.

A great deal of value engineering was completed between Ownership, Design and the Construction Team. We were able to provide the owner substantial savings on the project by revising plant layouts, using alternative materials, and reusing more equipment and materials from the existing facility.

The Team worked very closely with the Owner’s various equipment vendors located throughout the United States and Europe to coordinate the structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical needs required for these unique items to operate properly. Additionally, several materials and equipment were repurposed and/or reused from the Owner's existing recycling plant that is closing operations. The project team made numerous site visits so items such as sorting machines, conveyors, polishers, pumps, scrubbers, coiling doors, etc. could be cataloged, inspected, tested, and brought to the new plant. Extensive conversations with ownership were required to coordinate disassembly and schedule just-in-time delivery of these existing items at the new facility.

Everything on this project was larger than life. The enormous metal shredding equipment can cut through 500 tons of scrap materials per hour and in total weighs almost 1 million pounds. The motor which operates the shredder is 9,600 horsepower and weighs 50,000 lbs. There is a 69' tall, 20" thick, 50' long anti-shrapnel wall we constructed between the shredding equipment and the adjacent electrical and hydraulic oil system. The columns around the shredding enclosure weigh 18,000 lbs. and multiple massive cranes had to be utilized to safely set these large members.

Two ponds were constructed for storm water management and water treatment so that any water sent into the public sewer will be properly treated and meet regulations. We placed almost 10 acres of concrete pavements that varied from 14"-24" in thickness throughout the property. Our concrete vendor opened a local batch plant to provide the service needed for this project as we had consistent concrete pours of 800 CY up to 1400 CY placed in an 8 hour workday. Additionally, steel fibers were shipped into the country, and we coordinated delivery to the concrete vendor for placement in the concrete mix in order to save costs on local pavement reinforcing.

Our project manager and superintendent managed over 30+ trade contractors and all their employees over a 25 acre project site. In addition to managing our subcontractors, our field staff did an excellent job working with management from other plant operations located adjacent to the new project site so that we did not impact plant processes, train car deliveries, incoming scrap materials, barge exports, water/power needs, etc. During our 12 months on-site, we did not interfere with the 250+ employees that were working all around our project site.