From trash to treasure

Life Cycle Solu­tions is a com­pany that clears data from un­wanted com­pany com­puters and also sep­ar­ates metals for re­cyc­ling. At left, Lou Man­nhardt takes a com­puter apart and sep­ar­ates the metals for re­cyc­ling. JENNY SWI­GODA / TIMES PHOTO

“We try to make use of every­one else’s waste. You nev­er know what you’re go­ing to find.” — Life Cycle Solu­tions own­er Dav­id Klay­man

Life Cycle Solu­tions in Holmes­burg bills it­self as a data-de­struc­tion, e-waste-re­cyc­ling and li­quid­a­tion com­pany.

About six months ago, the com­pany ac­quired the as­sets of a beauty-sup­ply dis­trib­ut­or that went out of busi­ness. Its gi­ant 65,000-square-foot ware­house in­cludes more than 100,000 wigs, hair­pieces and braid­ing hair.

 “China has the Great Wall,” said own­er Dav­id Klay­man. “We have the great wall of hair. I own sev­en trail­er loads of hair.”

Life Cycle Solu­tions, at 8701 Tor­res­dale Ave., does a lot more than li­quid­ate such items as up­scale Remy-brand wigs.

The of­fice and two ware­houses are filled with tele­vi­sions, an­tiques, com­puters, store fix­tures, desks, cu­bicles, fil­ing cab­in­ets, vend­ing ma­chines, benches, fit­ness ma­chines, white­boards, neon signs, power strips, bat­tery backups “and everything in between,” Klay­man said.

 “We try to make use of every­one else’s waste,” he said. “You nev­er know what you’re go­ing to find.”

One unique item is a 1902 cot­ton gin, and there are sim­pler ob­jects, such as a jew­elry-re­pair ma­chine and pro­ject­ors.

 “We have parts that make things whole again,” Klay­man said.

Data de­struc­tion is a big part of the busi­ness, and law firms are ma­jor cli­ents.

In an ef­fort to pre­vent iden­tity theft, Klay­man and his five em­ploy­ees will get rid of com­puter hard drives, and they’ll nev­er be seen or used again. Even tags and la­bels will be re­moved. Fax ma­chines and laser print­ers will be cleared of memory.

An alarm sys­tem and a 42-cam­era video-sur­veil­lance sys­tem add to the se­cur­ity.

“It cre­ates peace of mind,” Klay­man said.

Laptops are cleaned, re­fur­bished and resold at prices well un­der mar­ket value, ac­cord­ing to Klay­man.

There’s also a char­it­able as­pect to the op­er­a­tion.

Ten per­cent of wig and hair­piece sales will go to Susan G. Ko­men for the Cure, a breast-can­cer char­ity.

Some of the laptops have been donated to the Rotary Club of North­east Sun­risers, which passes them on to the Phil­adelphia Chil­dren’s Found­a­tion, a char­ity that tries to give needy kids ac­cess to com­puters. A re­cent com­puter drop-off event took place at Roosevelt Mall.

 “We go through them with a fine-tooth comb,” Klay­man said of all com­puters. “We sep­ar­ate the good and the bad. Some of them are three or four years old, but still have use.”

A big com­pany like IBM might use a $2,500 com­puter un­til it’s time for an up­grade. A Life Cycle Solu­tions-re­habbed com­puter might go for as little as $225.

 “It’s based on sup­ply and de­mand, mar­ket value and what the cost was to do it,” Klay­man said.

The wigs and hair­pieces, worth $4 mil­lion but bought for a frac­tion of the price, also are deeply dis­coun­ted. Klay­man wants to move in­vent­ory in and out of his ware­houses.

 “I don’t want to sit with the ma­ter­i­als,” he said. “People don’t need to spend four-hun­dred dol­lars on a desk. They can get it for sev­enty-five bucks.” 

Re­cyc­ling these ma­ter­i­als, of course, is de­signed to re­duce the amount of waste sent to land­fills. The Life Cycle Solu­tions team will re­move fur­niture, elec­tron­ics and any­thing else in an of­fice clear-out, all in the name of re­cyc­ling.

 “We’ll take the light­bulbs if ne­ces­sary,” Klay­man said.

They’ll also take some memen­tos to hang on the walls of the of­fice. There’s a sign from the old Brook­lyn Ba­gels shop, at 7412 Bustleton Ave., and an over­head pic­ture of the former Tasty Bak­ing Co. plant and sur­round­ing area. 

Klay­man, 30, has been in this sort of busi­ness for 15 years. His ex­per­i­ence in­cludes se­cur­ing items left after the clos­ing of 14 Ames de­part­ment stores all over the coun­try.

The busi­ness­man has been at his present site for two years, and works sev­en days a week. He wel­comes the pub­lic to check out the ware­house full of goods, or they can vis­it the Life Cycle Solu­tions Web site. The com­pany will ship items any­where in the United States and Canada.

Some of the heavy-duty work that takes place on-site in­cludes strip­ping cop­per and pre­serving alu­min­um and pre­cious metals.

The six-man op­er­a­tion is per­form­ing the kind of re­man­u­fac­tur­ing not seen that much any­more in the United States.

 “We’re keep­ing jobs here and not ship­ping the pro­cess over­seas,” Klay­man said. ••

For more in­form­a­tion, call 215-882-8161, vis­it www.drli­fe­ or check out the Life Cycle Solu­tions Inc. page on Face­book.

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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