Local metal recycling center working through increase of metal debris

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - You can find them anywhere: debris piles that are big, small, short and tall.

Coastal Metals in Panama City is seeing its fair share of debris too.

Michael DeJohn, Manager and Buyer of Coastal Metals, there's two to three times more metal now than before Hurricane Michael.

"Besides the sheet aluminum, I'd have to say appliances from different homes that were destroyed, refrigerators, washers, dryers, that'd probably be the most common item we see right now," DeJohn explained.

Coastal Metals is a recycling center off of 15th Street which buys scrap metal from the public.

"We pay a premium price for the material, we will process it, cut it down to spec," DeJohn said.

In turn, he said that metal gets sold to steel mills in the Southeast, including Mobile, Atlanta, and Birmingham.

Back in Bay County, DeJohn said his business is doing the best it can since the storm.

"Keep the county clean, I mean, luckily we had places like us and other scrapyards in our area," he said.

While it's hard to nail down how much metal the center has collected after Hurricane Michael, DeJohn said, "We could probably say maybe 700 [thousand] to a million pounds of just scrap sheet aluminum that's from the storm, from Hurricane Michael."

Similar to many other businesses in the area, Hurricane Michael has brought on a new set of challenges for Coastal Metals.

"We've had to cut our hours back a little bit so we have time to process material and make the yard safe for employees and customers," DeJohn explained.

Day by day and scrap by scrap, the area is getting pieced back together.