VIDEO: Fall River father and son duo finding new life for used ‘junk’

via The Chronicle Herald

A Fall River father and son duo are operating a new junk removal company, striving to turn holiday cleansing into an eco-friendly, ethical endeavour.

Chris and Andrew Willison, owners and operators of the only Junk Works franchise in the Maritimes, are looking to take what some consider junk and give it a new life. They do this by recycling or donating the stuff they pick up from jobs to local non-profits.

The process begins with their biodiesel-fuelled transport truck that carries five to six tonnes of materials — which they claim is equivalent to six pick-up trucks worth.

They officially opened for business on Oct. 31, and ever since, they’ve been keeping busy with pick-up calls from HRM, Chester and Truro.

“What we are really doing is a full-service removal here. It’s either for people who can’t or don’t want to,” Chris told the Chronicle Herald during a visit to their warehouse.

They take care of removing the junk and then take it back to their warehouse in Bedford to sort through the gems they collect. Some of it, like a burnt-out dishwasher, is unusable and will be recycled. Other items, like children’s toys, will be donated to charities like the Salvation Army and Beacon House.

And for people willing to pay the price — it’s just less than $530 for a full truckload and all prices are based on volume — it’s also an easy to way to dispose of materials while avoiding a guilty conscious.

Junk Works was founded in 2005. It was started by two friends in a garage in San Carlos, California. The eco-friendly company now has 70 franchisees in North America, with five in Canada. Their goal is to eliminate the amount of waste going into landfills.

Chris is a lawyer and has spent years advising entrepreneurs on how to run their business. And now, he’s advising his 19-year-old son Andrew on how to be general manager of their own family business.

Chris says today’s society has become a disposal one. It’s an endless cycle of buying, changing and throwing away. Since he couldn’t single handedly change this pattern, he and his wife chose to join a company that was at least trying to make a difference.

“I was looking for business that had long-term benefit in the terms of the way society was going,” Chris said.

“It’s important for future generations that we don’t just keep throwing things out, creating piles of problems for us in the future.”
Chris and Andrew Willison at Junk Works warehouse in Bedford, they collect and recycle stuff that people do not want. (STAFF)

The calls Junk Works receive come from hoarders, grieving family members and eco-conscious people alike.

But regardless of why people are off loading their things, each one has its own story to tell.

“It’s really quite a cycle of life,” said Chris. His favourite item is the gramophone-style record player that looks like an old wooden dresser at first glance. But once Chris opened its door, he found a number of old, dusty records.

For Andrew, it’s the LIFE magazines that date back to as early as the 1940s.

“Just looking through it, it’s a complete different time. And it’s cool to think we pick these up after they haven’t been touched for 50 years or more,” he said.

They also work one-on-one with local businesses looking to off load materials. Chris says this helps them stand out from competitors.

“There is obviously room for another person like us in that because we’ve been picking up business,” he said.

Right now they are a small team of four employees, but Chris hopes to add another truck and at least two more employees over the next year.

Those looking to do some holiday cleaning can call 1-888-888-JUNK (5865) or visit them online at junk-works.ca/locations/halifax.

Original Publish Date: Dec. 27, 2016

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