Family-owned firm sets sights on new recycling markets

We’re in a recession and money’s tight, but some companies continue to invest in new equipment.

The Modesto Junk Co., one of the region’s oldest family-owned businesses, just installed a new $350,000 baler. The 2009 Badger two-ram baler, manufactured in Georgia by the Harris company, was put to work this week.

Compared to the old single-ram baler it replaced, the Badger compresses metals faster and tighter. It can recycle stainless steel, copper, aluminum and other metals into dense bales.

“This is a big investment for us,” said Keith Highiet, a member of the fourth generation of Highiets to work for the recycling company. His great-grandfather, Alex Highiet, founded the downtown Modesto business in 1920.

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