Typographic Earth Day Poster

Happy Earth Day! We’re fortunate to partner with companies who share our recycling vision. Together with our customers we’ve made a positive impact on the Earth. Here are a few 2013 highlights:

  • Protected over 16,000 mature trees
  • Preserved 125,285 cubic yards of landfill space
  • Saved enough energy to power 1,855 homes for an entire year.

Molten hot steel is pouring - Industrial metallurgyWhat can we expect to see in the scrap markets in November and throughout 2014? Hopefully something positive! From September to October 2013, we experienced relatively flat markets. October’s trading started off mostly unchanged but ended with a slight uptick in obsolete grades from a late push for scrap. No. 1 Heavy Melt settled at $345 per gross ton in October compared to $342 per gross ton in Chicago’s September markets. However, No. 1 Bundles remained unchanged from September to October.

Several indicators are forecasting an increase in pricing for November as well as throughout most of 2014. According to an American Metal Market article, “Midwest ferrous scrap prices expected to increase up to $50 per gross ton over the course of the winter, with November likely to kick-start the push for higher prices.” Indicators pointing to a strong November and December scrap market include a tight scrap supply, a stronger demand from the mills, growth in the manufacturing sector and an increase in export prices. Several buyers agreed and anticipate a $10 to $20 per gross ton rise in prices in November, and a continued increase seen throughout the rest of 2013.

In 2014, U.S. scrap consumption will increase 7 percent, reaching 64 million tonnes according to the American Metal Market. The main reason for this forecast is based on a lesser need for crude steel to make new finished steel products. There are two types of processes used to produce steel according to www.steel.org, the Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) and the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF). EAFs use 100% recycled steel to produce new steel and make up 40% of today’s steelmaking processes in the U.S. This will help lead to an increase in demand for scrap metals.

“U.S. scrap consumption will increase at a faster pace than crude steel output next year due to a higher capacity utilization rates at scrap-intensive EF steel mills” (also know as EAF steel mills). Due to the fact that technology is improving in the steelmaking process, less and less crude steel is required to make new steel.

The American Metal Market recently released another article “US steel market outlook bright for 2014,” stating the World Steel Association released a short-range outlook for 2014 and has forecasted that steel use in the U.S. will increase to 99.8 million tonnes from an expected 96.9 million tonnes. Director-general, Edwin Basson said, “In steel terms, the United States is increasingly attractive to develop new steelmaking capacity, if you were so inclined to, because energy is cheap and it is a net importing market,” he said. “From that perspective, the U.S. today has very exciting opportunities into the future.”

We anticipate an increase in pricing for November’s Chicago scrap market. Lou Plucinski, President of B.L. Duke states, “After what has been a lackluster year for scrap prices, it’s exciting to finally have a silver lining going into 2014.”

For more information or any questions regarding scrap metal pricing, please contact us at B.L. Duke today.

Red-Red-LineIn early May 2013, B.L. Duke was contracted to recycle the old Chicago CTA Red Line. B.L. Duke was heavily involved in the beginning phases of the Red Line Reconstruction project. During the demolition phase, not only did B.L. Duke complete their scope of the project on time and on budget, but also reused and recycled every part of the old rail system. The steel rail components were recycled into new steel and the old wooden ties were ground and used for fuel in power plants.

According to the Chicago RedEye, the Red Line was shut on down on May 19th, 2013 and officially reopened this past Sunday, October 20th at 4:00AM. Now that the project is finished the Red Line operates at 55mph instead of 15mph in slow zones – up to a 20 minute faster commute between 95th/Dan Ryan and Roosevelt. A commuter, Aubrey Jones, told the Chicago Tribune “her commute took 20 minutes on Monday, down from 35 minutes before construction.”

Red Line Reconstruction Recap

  • 154 Days: the Red Line South was closed to complete the Reconstruction Project

  • 7,797,460 Lbs: of new rail was needed to replace the old rail

  • 720,000,000 Lbs: of old material was excavated at the Red Line

  • 3 Stations: received elevators, making all CTA stations south of Roosevelt Road accessible for riders with disabilities

  • 100%: of all slow zones have now been removed during reconstruction

  • $425 Million: was spent on the largest reconstruction project in CTA history

Please contact us at B.L. Duke today for more information on how we can help your company or municipality recycle.


B.L. Duke was awarded this year’s Company of the Year by the AWMI, the Association of Women in the Metal’s Industry. On September 26th, 2013 the Chicago Chapter of the AWMI hosted their 30th Annual Industry Dinner and Awards Banquet at the Hyatt McCormick Place. The evening started out with a networking session, followed by dinner and then the awards banquet.

B.L. Duke was honored to receive this year’s Company of the Year award by the Chicago Chapter of the AWMI. Throughout the year, B.L. Duke has attended monthly meetings, volunteered and sponsored events, and most recently, had one of their very own, Shannon Evoy, appointed to the Chicago Chapter Board. Shannon was also named AWMI’s Volunteer of the Year.

Mary Becker, Vice President of the AWMI, presented the award to B.L. Duke stating “Being relatively new to AWMI, B.L. Duke made their presence known through their enthusiasm for the mission of the AWMI.”

During Lou Plucinski’s, President and owner of B.L. Duke, acceptance speech he thanked the women of B.L. Duke for their hard work in making their company the ever increasing success that it is today and stands to become. He also acknowledged the mutually beneficial relationship between B.L. Duke and the AWMI’s and thanked the organization for their support throughout the years.

B.L. Duke, whose senior staff is comprised of more than half females, plans to continue its involvement with the AWMI to support women not only within their organization but also within the industry. According to Plucinski, “our younger staff found mentorship within the AWMI and we hope to think that the women who are now our seasoned vets can provide the same service to others in the AWMI.”

After the awards banquet, John Ferriola, President & CEO of Nucor Corporation, presented his keynote address, “Reviving the Metals Industries”. Ferriola spoke about the future of manufacturing in America stating, “We all have a choice to make about our future. Manufacturing is going to be an integral point of the future of America. America is not a nation of quitters. That’s the American spirit.”

For more information regarding B.L. Duke or the AWMI please contact us today.

RichAlbrechtAfter years of hard work and dedication, B.L. Duke, although disheartened, is happy to announce the retirement of Rick Albrecht, Maintenance & Special Operations Manager. In early 2009, B.L. Duke purchased the heavy hauling equipment of Helders Motor Company and Rick Albrecht, Helder’s President, came along for the ride, accepting the offer to join the B.L. Duke team.

Rick Albrecht, also known around the office as ‘Uncle Ricky’ has been a veteran in the industry for over 62 years. After joining the B.L. Duke team in 2009, his wealth of knowledge and common sense have contributed to B.L. Duke’s growth and operations. Although we are sad to see Uncle Rick finally retire, and leave the workforce, we are excited for the well deserved rest & relaxation lifestyle he will be pursuing.

“I plan on taking the wife around the world, not answering the phone and fishing from sunup, till sundown,” said Uncle Rick. “I will miss the camaraderie amongst my B.L. Duke family,” he added.

The B.L. Duke family wants to wish Uncle Rick the best of luck. We hope you enjoy everyday of your retirement as much as you enjoyed working here!

Helders Motor Company was founded in 1923 by Gerald Helders. In 1961, Robert Albrecht, became the owner of the company and shortly after in 1962 Robert’s son, Rick Albrecht, became the President. From your smallest machine to over the top complex moves like delivering the U-505 (a German Submarine captured in World War II) to its final resting place at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Rick has always insured every load arrived safely and on time!

Lou-Plucinski-Receiving-AwardB.L. Duke received an award of appreciation on August 13, 2013 from the Village of Forest View for our volunteer efforts during April’s massive floods. Volunteerism is a core value of our company and we look forward to doing more in the future in helping our community!

Business man with fingers crossed.Finally we are beginning to hear some good news for July’s Scrap Market!  Most everyone in the industry believed May to be the bottom of the market and we were wrong when June’s markets were sideways to down. In the last six months, we have only seen one increase in Chicago’s market. From February to March 2013, there was a $41 per gross ton increase for No. 1 Dealer Bundles. However, the scrap market has taken back March’s price gains in the last three months.

Over the last week we have seen several indications that prices will increase in July. The most predominant of these market indicators pointing to a price increase in July is export demand. The U.S. is starting to see more activity from Turkey in the last couple of weeks. According to an American Metal Market’s article from June 13, 2013 “Several U.S. exporters hope to see  small bounce in bulk ferrous scrap export prices, with sentiment boosted by a fresh round of Turkish purchases of European material.” Many U.S. exporters are said to be bullish on export prices to Turkey.

Shortly after, another American Metal Market article stated “East coast scrap prices lift on new Turkey sale”, reiterating again that due to Turkey’s demand for ferrous scrap, declining prices would hopefully come to an end. “The lone East Coast sale sent AMM’s weekly East Coast Ferrous Scrap Export Index a touch above previous levels Monday to $315.75 per tonne f.o.b. New York, up 0.6 percent from $313.84 a week earlier”. The small increase in prices seen last week could be the trend for the rest of July.

Export demand is not the only factor indicating a price rebound in July. According to the Scrap Price Bulletin’s Scrap Trends Outlook Vol. 4, No.6  there are 5 Key Indicators for July, “Export demand, Historical Factors, Mill Demand, Local Supply and Mill Production.” Due to these 5 trend indicators, especially export demand, we are hopeful that we will see an increase in July’s Scrap Market.

For more information on scrap metal pricing, please contact B.L. Duke today.

railsB.L. Duke has been contracted to recycle the old Chicago CTA Red Line. Starting Sunday, May 19th, 2013 the south branch of the Red Line will be shut down for the next five months in order to rebuild the tracks, many of which have been in place since 1969.

The duration of the project is important because the Chicago Red Line is a critical mode of transportation to Chicago’s south-side residences. B.L. Duke is meeting the critical time-line demand by moving over 3,000 feet of track on 16 truck-loads daily.

According to the Chicago Tribune’s article Rebuilding the Red Line by Jemal R. Brinson and Kyle Bentle, the rehabilitation project will be completed in 6 steps. The first of these steps is Demolition, where a machine cuts the existing track into 40-foot panels with the ties and rail staying connected. These panels are then lifted onto B.L. Duke’s trucks.

B.L. Duke’s plan includes every part of the old rail system being reused and recycled. Not only will the steel rail components be recycled into new steel, but the old wooden ties will be ground and used for fuel in power plants.

After the demolition phase, steps 2 – 6 include Excavation, Installation, Ties and Rails, Final Touches and finally Testing states Brison and Bentle. Once the $425 million track replacement project is completed, according to the Chicago Transit Authority, commuters will be able to enjoy a much faster and smoother ride than before. After the project is finished the Red Line will once again operate at 55mph instead of the current 15mph in slow zones – up to a 20 minute faster commute between 95th/Dan Ryan and Roosevelt!

For more information on how B.L. Duke can help your company or municipality recycle, please contact us today.

B.L.-Dukes-Forest-View-Recycling-FacilityB.L. Duke has expanded their scrap operations to southwest suburban, Forest View, IL and finalized the installation of a Galland Henning FM-3 Baler.   According to Sean Davidson in the American Metal Market article, Chicago-area Scrap yard completes expansion“B.L. Duke aims to process 10,000 tons of ferrous scrap at its nine acre facility in Forest View, Ill.”

The facility and 5,000 sq. ft. office complex was chosen due to its strategic proximity to major interstates and its barge and container access.    “The City of Forest View is very happy to have B.L. Duke as the newest recycling company in our city,” says Frank Yurka, Administrative Director for the Village of Forest View.  “Their growth has produced jobs in our community.”

The installation of the Galland Henning FM-3 Baler completes B.L. Duke’s final phase of its Forest View expansion.  It also provides B.L. Duke the ability to process and market Dealer Bundles, a mill prime grade of scrap metal.  “Chicago is still a manufacturing town, and our new baler allows us to be more competitive in the prime grades of scrap that are abundant here,” says Lou Plucinski President and CEO of B.L. Duke.  The baler, a massive machine with a gross weight exceeding 430,000 lbs., can produce 45 tons of bundles per hour at full efficiency with each bale weighing an average of 1.5 tons.

The facility’s proximity to Chicago and ease of access has proven to be desirable for B.L. Duke’s demolition and contractor customers and efficient for its industrial base operations.  It also provides a safe, dedicated area for the general public selling their recyclables.  B.L. Duke’s Forest View facility accepts both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, cardboard, paper, plastic and e-scrap.  They accept material from local business, contractors, and the general public.   For more information or for current pricing please contact B.L. Duke today.

Well-Street-Bridge-Reconstruction1We are so excited to have won the bid to assist in the Wells Street Bridge Reconstruction Project.  B.L. Duke has been award the contract to transport and recycle the scrap metal from the 91 year old bridge.

Out of the Box Thinking

While most demolition projects are complicated; the Well Street Bridge has its own logistical challenges. This project is in the heart of the Loop where the hustle and bustle of cars, buses, trains, and pedestrians make things a bit more difficult. Then throw in the fact that the bridge repair is over the Chicago River and you have the combination for obstacles. Using trucks and standard equipment to move materials, equipment, and scrap metal would take valuable time.  Our team at B.L. Duke led by Lou Plucinski came up with a solution to this logistical issue and got creative. Instead of the ordinary, Lou contracted two diesel powered barges that would anchor under the bridge and will prove to be the perfect platform for the steel to be recovered.

Solving Logistical Challenges

Doing business in Chicago’s metropolitan area as efficiently as possible is B.L. Duke’s primary concern.  The barges provide the most efficient method of transportation for the scrap metal recovered from the Wells Street Bridge. According to U.S. Dot Marine Administration, barges can move one ton of steel over 500 miles per gallon of diesel which is over double the efficiency of using rail car; ultimately keeping costs down on the project and protecting the environment at the same time.

The Wells Street project is but one example of B.L. Duke’s ability to bring out of the box thinking and innovated logistical solutions to further its customers’ goals.   If your company needs assistance with a demolition project or has scrap metal or other recyclables; contact B.L. Duke today.