RMDZ Business Success Story
Looney Bins/Downtown Diversion
Founded in 1986, Looney Bins, Incorporated is an award-winning, progressive, and rapidly growing construction and demolition (C&D) debris waste hauling and recycling company with locations in both the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Recycling Market Development Zones.
Looney Bins found a market niche by contracting with local Hollywood movie studios to deconstruct movie lots containing wood, cardboard, metal, plastic, and other salvageable items; Looney Bins then sells and/or donates the recovered materials. Some of the uses promoted by Looney Bins have included providing wood to a company that makes reconstituted pallets; reusing Warner Bros. Studios' telephone poles for the Special Olympics; shipping reclaimed nails, screws, and other building materials to hospitals overseas; and helping a Southern California nursery reuse wood scrap for planter boxes (see photo below).
In 1999, the CIWMB Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) program made its first loan to Looney Bins for the purchase of a wood grinder, ancillary equipment, and working capital. This enabled the company to expand into grinding wood and drywall into mulch.
By 2003 the company had grown considerably and it received another RMDZ loan. Its new site, Downtown Diversion, is capable of processing all types of C&D debris, including asphalt, brick, wood, drywall, cardboard, concrete, carpet, scrap metal, roofing shingles, and other similar materials. Eighty percent of what is brought in will be diverted from landfill disposal. Material diversion is expected to reach 50,000 tons of C&D annually. With the increase in material intake and processing, the company expects to realize some economies of scale.
Looney Bins is committed to helping municipalities and businesses recycle efficiently and economically. "In part because of the RMDZ program, our landfill diversion rates are in excess of 70 percent and sales are higher than ever," says Myan Spaccarelli, Looney Bins founder.
Its commitment to recycling has earned Looney Bins a number of awards including L.A. County's LACoMAX Exchange Award (2002), CIWMB's CalMAX Match of the Year (1998), CIWMB’s WRAP Award (1999–2005), and the City of Los Angeles' Good Earthkeeping Award (2000).