LKQ Corporation (LKQ), Newalta Corporation (NAL), Waste Management, Inc. (WM): Three Companies Turning Scraps Into Wealth

Recycling is all the craze these days. However, there are some companies that go beyond taking care of soda cans. Three companies that go the extra mile and use other people’s scraps to build wealth are LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ), Newalta Corporation (TSE:NAL), and Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM).

Using it Again

When you think about recycling the image of a soda can or a bottle being used to make some other product is probably what comes to mind. That’s a big part of the business, but it isn’t the only way to benefit from the things that others throw away.

The old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure is an understatement when it comes to some innovative companies. Here are three to keep an eye on:

From The Scrap Heap

Technically, LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ) is in the aftermarket auto parts business. However, it takes a different approach than most. A big portion of its business comes from recycled auto parts. This basically means it buys cars that no one wants, usually because they have been damaged in an accident, and pulls out the parts that are still useable.

In 2012, the company bought over 650,000 vehicles for this purpose. That makes the company a notable recycler. However, scrap yards, which is basically what the company operates, aren’t new. What is new and exciting about LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ) is its business model. It has been consolidating a fragmented industry.

For example, in 2012, the company bought 30 companies in North America. That brings the total since the company’s formation in 1998 to over 150. Today the company has hundreds of locations around the country and in Europe. Since most of its competitors are “independently owned distributors with one to three distribution centers,” it has a notable size advantage.

LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ)’s top and bottom lines have been growing steadily for a decade. It’s a unique take on recycling, but one that looks like it has plenty of growth ahead.

Tasty Industrial Residue

Newalta Corporation (TSE:NAL) is based in Canada. It describes itself in this way: “Newalta Corporation (TSE:NAL) provides cost-effective solutions to industrial customers to improve their environmental performance with a focus on recycling and recovery of products from industrial residues.” That last bit is what makes the company unique.

Essentially, the company treats the waste from processes like oil drilling. However, it isn’t just making the waste safe again, it is pulling out valuable resources that can be sold. In the case of oil drilling waste, the company uses massive centrifuges to pull out the oil trapped in the residue. That oil can then be sold; not a bad trick.

The company has more than 250 facilities throughout Canada and in The United States, not including on-site facilities at customer locations. A leader in taking industrial waste and treating it, the company’s top line dipped during the 2007 to 2009 recession. That’s not surprising. The previous steady top line advance has since resumed.