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Ansel Aberly, a long-time presence in the Detroit area nonferrous scrap recycling industry, has died at age 85 near his home in the Dallas area.

Aberly attended the University of Michigan and served in the U.S. Army before joining his father Herman’s scrap business, the Standard Lead Company, in Detroit in the late 1950s. He later owned and transformed the firm into one that sorted and recycled a wider array of metals, and renamed it SLC Recycling.

SLC Recycling’s 78,000-square-foot sorting plant in Warren, Michigan, was acquired by Windsor, Ontario, Canada-based Zalev Bros. in 1997, and after that by Detroit-based Ferrous Processing & Trading (FPT).

Aberly predicted the rise of China’s influence on copper demand and pricing, commenting to Recycling Today in 1999, “If you put a light bulb in every house in China there would be no reserves of copper. But in the future, the so-called third world countries will be large consumers of copper.” That year, China imported less than $1 billion worth of copper scrap. About 12 years later, in 2011, that figure had escalated to more than $16 billion, according to the Global Trade Atlas.

Aberly’s daughters Naomi, Rachel and Jessica say, “Although SLC was a state-of-the art operation, Ansel adhered to longstanding traditions, proud that he could make a deal on a handshake or with a verbal telephone agreement. As such, he occasionally bemoaned the invention of the fax machine, which eliminated the personal connection.”

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Suzanne; his daughters, Rachel Aberly (McLane), Naomi Aberly (Lebowitz) and Jessica Aberly (Ditmars); and grandsons, Matthew and Benjamin Lebowitz.

His survivors indicate that as Ansel Aberly was a life-long Democrat, he had asked that gifts in his honor be made to the Joe Biden for President campaign, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), Annie’s List, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas or The Nasher Sculpture Garden of Dallas.

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