Female scrap metal hauler says, ‘Anyone else is just some dude with a truck’

    There’s something irresistible about this classified from last week’s Shoppe, the beloved local ad mag in Cape May County. 

    “A single mom offering free p/u & removal of any & all types of scrap metal, major appliances, air conditioners, pools, sheds, etc. I am a very strong woman, nothing too heavy to lift.” 

    The ad also lists iron-clad credentials for the hauler, claiming to be “the only State registered, EPA Certified, fully insured metal recycler” in the county. [Of the four other haulers listed, only one included any mention of a license.] I called the number and had a terrific conversation with the “very strong woman” in question, Tara Lawson of Green Earth Metal Works.

    “Right now I’m on my way to Avalon to cut up a boat trailer,” Lawson said, but she does work all over the Shore and has contracts with Wildwood Crest, West Wildwood and the U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape May, removing everything metal, up to and including the kitchen sink, if that’s what’s needed. 

    Lawson, 38, said she spent many years as a waitress, and made good enough money to support herself and two daughters, but when the recession hit, it hit hard. One day her brother asked for a ride to the scrap yard, and there, she found her new career. 

    Lawson founded Green Earth in 2009, first taking small side jobs and word-of-mouth referrals before going full time. One of her daughters is about to head off to college at DeSales University near Allentown to study criminal justice.

    “Sometimes I make her come along with me so she can see how hard the work is, so she’ll get good grades,” Lawson said.

    So which is a harder job, dealing with customers and carrying loaded trays as a waitress, or moving metal? Lawson considered that for a minute. As a hauler, she’s running her own business and dealing with everything that involves. So probably, hauling.

    “I get a lot dirtier now, that’s for sure,” she said. 

    I asked Lawson whether her classified ad was just creatively written, or if she finds people skeptical when she shows up to haul away their old stuff. 

    “Yeah, sometimes people say, ‘Oh, you might need help with that, it’s really heavy,’ ” she said. “And I’m not real big, size-wise. I’m like five-four, 150 pounds. But it’s all about leverage. You get the right leverage, you can move anything.”

    Amen to that, Tara.

    And you know, if this whole Shore blogging thing doesn’t work out for me, it looks like there’s an opening for an ice-cream truck driver…

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.