Local company dives into cartridge remanufacturing
That's why the president of the Janesville-based OfficePro started a new company that remanufactures toner cartridges for office printers.
Occupying about 5,000 square feet in the OfficePro headquarters on Parker Drive, Recycling4U has just a few employees.
But Arn believes the company's future will be driven by an economy that's spawned by a new focus on cost cutting and green initiatives.
"I've always been interested in providing jobs," Arn said. "I think the best way to do that is to create jobs that depend on money from outside the community."
Recycling4U harvests original, brand name toner cartridges. Workers take the cartridges apart and clean them and replace any parts. The cartridges are then refilled, tested and repackaged.
Ten years ago, the remanufactured cartridge market was big business, but Arn said it was nearly destroyed by shoddy suppliers. Today, about 90 percent of the toner cartridges sold are new, compared with the 10 percent that are remanufactured.
OfficePro—a supplier of office products, furniture and commercial janitorial supplies—is the young company's only customer. Eventually, Arn hopes to repackage the cartridges under his customers' labels.
While Arn started Recycling4U to supply his own business, he envisions a staff of six to 12 that are supplying independent office supply companies around the country.
"I've got more than 10 years in the office supply industry and have had a lot of success in the last couple of years," he said. "When I talk to other dealers at trade shows and other events, they respect me, plus I know what they're paying for their cartridges.
"Instead of selling to the end-users, we will sell to the dealers, and OfficePro is the anchor that allows us to do that."
To start the business, the company received $15,000 in Tax Increment Finance money from the city.
Arn also invested his own resources.
"Starting a new business, especially in this economy, is tough," he said. "Despite what some people think and say, it's not so easy to get money at the bank.
"I'm fortunate in that I can piggyback this business with the resources of OfficePro, plus have OfficePro as the first customer."