This month we are proud to be celebrating our 17th anniversary! Today, more than ever, we are laser focused on our mission.  “We are revolutionizing the recycling industry through technology and transportation efficiencies to drive responsiveness and maximize client value.”  The following video features our Joliet yard and showcases our growth and capabilities.

“Looking back at the last 17 years I’m most proud of the B.L. Duke team.” states Lou Plucinski, President of B.L. Duke.  “We’ve adapted to the most challenging market conditions and continued to grow to become one of the top leaders in the industry.”

Since 2000, we’ve taken an integrated personalized recycling approach.  Today, we are able to offer our customers greater value than ever before.  We owe this success to our two convenient scrap processing locations and our new state of the art technology system, allowing us to be transparent through real-time load tracking.

Within the last year of the Joliet expansion, it’s abundantly clear why this move has set us apart in the industry. Our processing and freight capabilities, visibly highlighted in our new video, are the reasons behind this success.  This facility coupled with the tenacity of our team will drive our growth into the next phase of B.L. Duke.

Reach out to us if you are interested in touring our Joliet yard in person!

About B.L. Duke
B.L. Duke is an industry leading scrap metal recycling company in Chicago. Established in 2000, B.L. Duke has revolutionized the Chicago recycling industry through technology and transportation efficiencies to drive responsiveness and maximize client value. For a fresh look at your metal recycling program, contact B.L. Duke at 773.778.3000 or



UPDATE:  We’re very excited to announce we surpassed our goal and we were able to donate $2,470 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation!  Thank you to everyone who came out to participate in our Tacos for Ta-Ta’s fundraiser.

B.L. Duke Supports Breast Cancer Research

***NEW DATE***
Friday, November 3rd

B.L. Duke’s Forest View Scrap Yard
6400 West Canal Bank Road, Forest View, IL
7AM – Coffee & Donuts
11AM-1PM – Taco Truck
Free giveaways and raffles!

We can’t believe it’s that time of year again!  Every October, B.L. Duke is grateful that we have the opportunity to stand up to breast cancer.  This cause is near and dear to me, as I’m currently battling breast cancer for the second time.  Over the last three years, B.L. Duke has gone above and beyond to personally support me and others who are affected by breast cancer.  I appreciate my work family’s support and am inspired by the newest member of our team who is also a breast cancer survivor.

Breast Cancer Fundraiser on 10/20

This year, we’re raising money in a new way with our Pink Lady (pictured above).  We’re excited to announce our Tacos for Ta-Ta’s party to help raise funds for breast cancer research!  The event will take place at our Forest View, IL Ferrous Processing yard on November 3rd between 7AM-5PM.  B.L. Duke has pledged to donate 20% of the day’s profits from our retail business to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Tacos for Ta-Ta’s will start out with breakfast donuts and coffee followed by a taco truck that will serve lunch!  There will also be free giveaways for those who participate and help us stand up to breast cancer.

Since 1993, over 10 million hours of research has been funded by BCRF.  As a patient currently enrolled in a clinical trial, I’ve learned to appreciate the latest and greatest opportunities that are only possible from hours of cancer research.  We’re looking forward to filling up our Pink Lady with TONS of scrap metal for a great cause!

For more information on the Tacos for Ta-Ta’s party and how you can donate, contact us at or 773-778-3000.

B.L. Duke delivers customized recycling programs with game-changing efficiencies. Established in 2000, the company has revolutionized the recycling industry delivering customized programs that streamline operations and save customers time and money. Learn more about B.L. Duke at

Scrap Metal Recycling Efficicies Improved by Barge Transportation

The addition of barge transportation is an example of how B.L. Duke is revolutionizing Chicago’s metal recycling industry and maximizing our customer’s value.  The opening of B.L. Duke’s second yard, located in Joliet, IL has added to the company’s success in the past year.  “This was the largest expansion project in our company’s history,” states Lou Plucinski, President of B.L. Duke.  Our 25 acres expand B.L. Duke’s array of logistics to now include dual barge docks, dual rail spurs in addition to our trucking services.  Barge access has reduced transportation cost and created operational efficiencies, facilitating new consumers in stronger markets, all, making B.L. Duke more competitive and driving our customer’s value.

“Logistics are B.L. Duke’s largest variable expense,” states Plucinski, “minimizing this cost was paramount as it gives us a competitive advantage in the Chicago industrial market.”  Moving material via barge has cut our transportation cost significantly.  For example, it costs over $100/NT to move material via truck to Mobile, AL but only $25/NT via barge.  The savings allows us to maximize our customer’s value and offer them a more competitive price.

Barge Transportation Improves Scrap Metal Recycling

Barge accessibility also creates operational efficiencies by reducing trucking, which improves material flow and adds to our material handling efficiency.  One barge is equal to 17 railcars or 75 truck-loads.  Not only are we cutting costs by limiting trucking but by also reducing time, and making transportation more efficient.  These efficiencies reduce environmental emissions, making B.L. Duke a greener company; another example how B.L. Duke is revolutionizing the metal recycling industry.

Unlike other Chicago based scrap recycling companies, barge access has allowed B.L. Duke to expand our reach by adding new consumers in stronger markets.  We have created new scrap homes along the Mississippi, Ohio Valley, Gulf Coast and export markets.   We are moving material via barge to places as close as Peoria, IL and Muscatine, IA as well as down south to New Orleans, LA and Mobile, AL.  The opportunities are endless when it comes to the efficiency of moving scrap metal via barge.

Contact us today at 773.778.3000 or to learn how our operational efficiencies will add value to your metal recycling program.

Scrap yard in Joliet

We’re excited to announce B.L Duke has grown!  Over the last six months we’ve added 28 employees, 10,000 tons per month and a 25-acre scrap yard in Joliet.  This new yard increases our sales territory and offers additional competitive advantages.

“The Joliet yard expands our service range south and west of the Chicago metro area. With logistics being our biggest expense, the second location now allows B.L. Duke to be more competitive in this region,” says B.L. Duke’s VP of Sales, Marissa Plucinski.

With the addition of two of the largest ferrous balers in the region, we’ve tripled our baling capacity to over 1000 tons per day. Conveniently located on the Des Plaines River and equipped with two barge docks, dual balers and  two CN Direct rail spurs, B.L. Duke is the only scrap metal company in the Chicagoland area servicing industrial customers with balers and barge access.  These resources allow B.L. Duke to drastically decrease transportation cost and market materials to both domestic and international markets.

“This new facility gives us a competitive advantage,” states Lou Plucinski, B.L. Duke’s President and CEO.  “The additional barge access allows B.L. Duke to take advantage of what has been stronger southern and international markets.”

With a focus on transparency and responsiveness B.L. Duke has complemented this expansion with the roll-out of new GPS logistics technology.  B.L. Duke is arming drivers with tablets that enable customers to track real-time pick-up information, pictures and load details.

We are grateful to our customers who partnered with us through the downturn.  B.L. Duke is committed to revolutionizing the recycling industry while sticking to our core values.  Our growth can be attributed to our willingness to innovate,  focus on new technologies and emphasis on safety and efficiency.

For a fresh look at your recycling program, contact B.L. Duke at 773.778.3000 or

B.L. Duke Stands Up to Breast Cancer

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  A woman is diagnosed every 2 minutes with Breast Cancer in the United States.  One of our own, Shannon Evoy, is fighting cancer.  Shannon was diagnosed with stage 2, Triple Negative Breast Cancer on July 30th and is halfway through chemo treatment!

B.L. Duke Stands Up to Breast Cancer

B.L. Duke is standing up to cancer!  We are committed to donating 50% of profits for all materials recycled in our Pink Gondola during the month of October.  Proceeds will be donated to Breast Cancer Research  Foundation (BCRF). Since 1993, over 8 million hours of research has been funded by BCRF


Our driver, Jerry, delivered our Pink Lady to the first customer in Michigan!  We’re excited to see where else she will travel to this month.                                                                                                                                                               Pink-Lady-First-Stop-1024x768       Pink-Lady-First-Stop-2-768x1024

Follow our Pink Lady’s  travels by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter!

Scrap Metal Forecast

As we enter the Fall of 2015 the outlook for the scrap market and the metals industry in general is bleak to put it lightly.  The thought was that the scrap pricing collapse that occurred in February would be the bottom of the market and we would slowly regain the loses over the remainder of the year.  Clearly those predictions proved to be dead wrong but why and what can be done moving forward?

As 2015 progressed a series of factors came together to create a “perfect storm.”  The three main factors negatively affecting the industry are the global slowdown, the strength of the US Dollar and simple oversupply and lackluster demand.  The global slowdown led by China has driven the Asian nation to dump cheap, government subsidized finished steel products all over the world.  Not only has this practice sucked any extra demand there may have been out of the US market but it has left the UK Steel Industry fighting for its life.

The US Dollar is the reserve currency for the world and when things are grim across the globe, the value of the dollar increases.  This go-around has been no different.  Only a year ago the Euro-Dollar exchange rate was as high as roughly a $1.40 today it is $1.11.  The fall in the value of the Euro has brought scrap export off of the east coast to a crawl at best.  We cannot assume that the Euro will increase in value anytime soon, it appears as if ECB is set to engage in another round of quantitative easing.  We will continue to see an over-supply of domestic scrap until consistent export resumes.

Fourth quarter 2015 is looking every bit as challenging as third quarter and resembles 2008 depressed markets. Unfortunately, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  Lou Plucinski, B.L. Duke’s President, was interviewed by the American Metal Market discussing how small yards have in edge in downturns. “B.L. Duke is working hard to set itself apart, including making its business practices transparent.” Plucinski also stated, “We know the stigma scrap metal companies have, and B.L. Duke is truly revolutionizing the industry because we have brought a new level of transparency with customers with groundbreaking software systems that allow customer full access real time.”

Through transparency and consistent communication, we are working with our recycling partners to ensure we can continue to provide great service while navigating through these unprecedented markets.

For a fresh look at your recycling program contact B.L. Duke at 773.778.3000 or

AMM-logoIn a recent interview with American Metal Market Daily, B.L. Duke President Lou Plucinski discussed the advantages that small- and mid-size scrap metal companies like B.L. Duke experience during down markets.

He attributes his company’s recent success to the company’s size and agility.

“Being our size allows us to be more flexible to our customers. We can go anywhere fast. Mill demand changes fast, and being able to be flexible in shipments and grades helps mills as well,” Plucinski said.

Plucinski also discussed the impact that the recent drop in ferrous scrap prices has had on the industry as a whole. B.L. Duke’s edge through the downturn was attributed to taking a fresh approach within the industry.

“We know the stigma scrap metal companies have, and B.L. Duke is truly revolutionizing the industry because we have brought a new level of transparency with customers with groundbreaking software systems that allow customers full access real time,” said Plucinski.

Read the full article, Small Yards Have Edge During Downturns, Exec at

B.L. Duke delivers customized recycling programs with game changing efficiencies.  Established in 2000, we’ve integrated recycling, logistics and demolition to deliver programs that streamline operations. Learn more about B.L. Duke at

For a fresh look at your recycling program contact B.L. Duke at 773.778.3000 or

Barge-Lou-P-225x300The Midwest scrap market has had more than its fair share of challenges in 2015.  Even though B.L. Duke expects Midwest ferrous scrap prices to rise in June, this does little to restore us to the levels realized in 2014.  With market troubles still weighing heavily on our industry, companies must think outside the box and create opportunities for themselves.  While B.L. Duke is hopeful the fundamentals of our industry will continue to improve, we refuse to sit on our hands and hope for the best.

As May is coming to a conclusion we have turned our attention to June’s scrap pricing and for the first time in 2015 there is positive sentiment.  B.L. Duke expects scrap prices to increase in the range of $10 to $15 per gross ton.  We have heard rumors of even larger jumps, but we do not see anything to substantiate them.  With construction season picking up steam and an impending trade case against foreign steel imports, demand for domestic steel will grow.  A tick up in the East Coast export market should also assist Midwest markets. Even though the East Coast is still slow any material that leaves for foreign ports is seen as a positive for the Midwest market.

Let’s not kid ourselves, the Midwest scrap market and the domestic steel industry have an incredibly long road back to where we would like to be.  The strength of the US dollar appears as if it will continue to be a drag on both industries for the foreseeable future.  The economic situation is Europe will not correct itself quickly enough and the US economy does not look like it can support our industry on its own.


This is precisely why B.L. Duke continues to seek alternative homes for scrap outside of the Midwest.  While Midwest markets have remained relatively stagnate in 2015, B.L. Duke is taking advantage of our water front facility and selling barge loads of scrap outside Chicago’s market. “It’s a great advantage to be one of only a couple industrial scrap companies that can move barge loads of scrap out of the Midwest market,” states Lou Plucinski, B.L. Duke’s President. “Being in a town as notoriously competitive as Chicago means every efficiency adds to our strength and creates new opportunities.”

We’re excited to announce our new mobile website –! Our team has dedicated time and energy to create a mobile friendly website with your needs in mind. At B.L. Duke, we strive to keep up-to-date with the newest technologies, focusing on those to help you operate more efficiently and provide recycling management tools at your fingertips! The new website has many new features including scheduling a pick-up from the convenience of your smartphone, keeping up with the latest news and market prices, or simply getting directions to our facilities.

Schedule A Pick Up

Customers can conveniently contact dispatch

Mobile Website Schedule A Pick Up

Latest News

Stay up to date on all relevant market information, company news, etc.

Mobile Website Latest News


Turn by turn navigation


If you’re reading this on your desktop – please check us out on your smartphone or tablet. We always welcome any feedback at B.L. Duke, in fact we encourage it!  Please send us any questions, comments, or suggestions. Contact Us

steel heart isolated on a white background

Unlike the prior three months, there is a fair amount of uncertainty regarding February’s scrap market.  Continuing extreme weather conditions as well as lack of export demand have combined to make February’s scrap pricing difficult to predict.

It goes without saying that this winter has been absolutely horrendous in the Midwest.  The Chicago area is having one of the coldest winters on record, with average temperatures since December 1st at 20.3 degrees, the 12th lowest since recordkeeping began in 1872, according to The Chicago Tribune, “Chicago bracing for second deep-freeze in a month.”  The low temperatures have only added to the misery that has been Chicago’s winter.  We have also experienced the “third snowiest January on record,” states Accuweather.  While this may not affect prime grades of scrap, cut grades and shred will be in short supply.

Export demand and pricing has been falling over the last few weeks.  Two West Coast bulk ferrous scrap sales to South Korea have sent U.S. export prices down, a Korean participant said.  There is no construction in Korea and no demand for finished manufactured products, as claimed by American Metal Market (AMM), ” US scrap export prices slide again.”  East Coast exports have fared equally poorly and have begun offering tons inland.  The AMM article, “US bulk scrap sale affirms bearish market,” says that “exporters are likely to continue gauging domestic mills’ interest in their scrap as Turkey remains reticent on bulk orders and container exports have also dropped significantly.”

Is the lack of export demand or the extreme weather going to win out in regard to February scrap pricing?  “I feel there has not been enough emphasis put on how negatively the weather has affected scrap supplies,” believes B.L. Duke’s President, Lou Plucinski.  “Earlier speculations of drops of $20 – $30 seem unrealistic considering low mill inventories and the lack of obsolete grades moving due to the weather.  I will be very curious to see if mills begin using more prime grades considering the pricing anomaly,” adds Plucinski.

I happen to agree with his opinion.  It has been very difficult to move scrap whether by truck, rail, or barge given the weather.  Even if the East Coast exporters absolutely had to sell in the Midwest they would find it difficult, logistically speaking, if this weather persists.  At the end of the day, I believe that prices will remain at roughly the same level as January or slightly softer.  Then again, sometimes you can’t see the forest or the trees.