Features

Mark Weintraub – Reserve Management

A clear vision for responsible recycling

Mark Weintraub, the general counsel at Reserve Management Group (RMG), spearheads initiatives that reflect the company’s dedication to responsible recycling practices and industry advocacy. RMG, a group of recycled materials businesses specializing in metal recycling across eight states and Canada, prioritizes ethical operations and environmental stewardship. 

Mark Weintraub | General Counsel | Reserve Management 

Mark Weintraub | General Counsel | Reserve Management

Weintraub is vital in ensuring the company’s adherence to ethical standards. Simultaneously, he recognizes the importance of advocating for the recycling industry, emphasizing its contribution to the circular economy, infrastructure development, and environmental conservation. 

“Advocating for the recycling industry is more than a professional duty; it’s about highlighting our role in the circular economy, contributing to infrastructure development, and championing environmental conservation,” he tells Vanguard. “It’s not just about legal standards; it’s about creating a sustainable legacy for our industry and the planet.”  

Navigating challenges 

Two significant efforts underscore Weintraub’s—and RMG’s—commitment to the industry and environmental responsibility. The first is the Southside Recycling Project in Chicago, representing one of North America’s most technologically advanced metal shredding operations. Unfortunately, legal challenges with the City of Chicago currently hinder its operation.  

The ongoing litigation holds significant stakes. Beyond the state-of-the-art facility and job opportunities it promised, the case involves government overreach, the perpetuation of false narratives by certain government entities, NGOs, and media. Most egregious was changing processes post-compliance, Weintraub says.  

RMG invested over $80 million to construct a best-in-class metal shredder business. Southside Recycling was constructed on RMG’s existing Chicago property—175+ acres of former steel mill land where RMG has operated other recycling businesses without incident or community opposition for over 25 years. However, Chicago’s unjustified hold-up of the final required operating permit has delayed the facility’s opening, he adds.  

Mark Weintraub | General Counsel | Reserve Management 

Weintraub says that rather than following its declared timeline for permit review, the City of Chicago capitulated to political pressure from certain small group’s unfounded concerns. The City, working with the U.S. EPA (whose own published best practices for environmental and public health protection at metal shredders are fully incorporated into the design and construction of Southside Recycling ), imposed additional ex post facto obstacles to the issuance of the permit. 

While a preponderance of the scientific evidence has shown that Southside Recycling will operate within all applicable environmental and health standards, the City denied the permit—a decision vacated on appeal by a judge in Chicago’s Department of Administrative Hearings.  

“The Chicago Department of Public Health appealed this rejection of its initial permit decision, and the case remains mired in the appellate process,” Weintraub explains.  

Industry advocacy and leadership have been important to Weintraub since his career began. Weintraub endeavors to reshape public perception, emphasizing that 90 percent of recycling in the country is industrial. His involvement in the recycled materials trade association, particularly as chairman of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ Government Affairs Committee, positions him to interact with stakeholders, legislators, and regulators at all levels of government. 

He says that through dedicated advocacy and leadership initiatives, ISRI actively reshapes prevailing perceptions, instilling a collective commitment to ethical recycling practices.  

“Our goal is not just to overcome challenges but to proactively contribute to the positive transformation of the industry, fostering a mindset that prioritizes environmental responsibility and ethical conduct,” Weintraub says. 

Shaping the future as a trusted leader 

Weintraub places immense value on being a trusted leader and advisor, recognizing his important role in shaping positive industry perceptions and fostering environmental sustainability. His enduring connections and deep appreciation for industry professionals contribute to a unique perspective emphasizing ethical practices.  

Weintraub’s dedication to building lasting relationships goes hand-in-hand with his commitment to cultivating a sustainable industry. This dedication underscores the importance of his role as a trusted leader throughout his professional journey. 

“I think my passion for the industry is evident, just like my appreciation for the people I work with and the positive company culture at RMG,” he says.  

Mark Weintraub | General Counsel | Reserve Management 

His leadership extends to restructuring advocacy roles within the ISRI, focusing on highlighting the recycled materials industry’s crucial role in the circular economy. 

In 2024, Weintraub and RMG plan to continue their advocacy efforts, emphasizing responsible recycling practices and showcasing the industry’s and RMG’s vital role in sustainability.  

The multifaceted projects reflect Weintraub’s dedication to legal excellence and industry leadership, positioning RMG as a driving force in ethical recycling practices. 

From metal to law 

Weintraub’s academic pursuits began at Miami University in Ohio, where he earned a degree in business and accounting. However, the law was not part of his initial career path—he ventured into the metal industry, accumulating over 15 years of invaluable experience before the law beckoned. His transformative journey took a significant turn when he enrolled at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, attending night classes while working full-time with a family at home, earning a Juris Doctorate and laying the groundwork for his legal career. 

Mark Weintraub | General Counsel | Reserve Management 

At Thompson Hine, Weintraub spent almost eight years as an associate attorney, honing his legal acumen and contributing to the firm’s success. He moved in-house for nearly four years at a small metal trading firm, leaning on his metals industry experience.  

In July 2016, Weintraub embarked on a new chapter by joining RMG, where his impact and contributions have been nothing short of exceptional. He brings a wealth of experience, legal prowess and a deep understanding of the industry dynamics. 

“I hope to ensure that the recycled materials industry is much better understood as a critical component of the circular economy and that our sustainability efforts leave future generations a better planet,” Weintraub says.  

View this feature in the Vanguard Spring II 2024 Edition here.

Published on: March 19, 2024

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