Walla Walla's green junk yard

In 1929, Emory Stubblefield opened a salvage yard; in 1944, he moved it to Walla Walla, Washington. Like most junk yards, Stubblefield’s was full of rusting cars, old tires, scrap metal… the typical detritus you’d associate with such a business. Just before Emory’s death at the age of 94 in 2008, he and his children took the business in a new direction: metal and scrap recycling… plus nature habitat.

The new Stubblefield Salvage and Recycling (formerly Emory Stubblefield Co.) refocused on metal processing, and on reducing the company’s land footprint. When the elder Stubblefield died, the business “had junk strung across 11 acres,” according to Emory’s son, Al. He and his sisters Lily Schoop (now the company CEO) and Leonora Thompson took on the tasks of recycling 120 junked cars on the lot, and then all of the tires. In the process, they reduced the size of business operations from eleven acres to two.

According to Tacoma’s News Tribune, the Stubblefield children have planted trees on the other nine acres and allowed wildlife to return. While they’re still in the process of cleaning up the old site, they’re already seeing some desired results, according to a posting on their website (presumably from earlier this year):

This week we discovered a horned owl nested to raise her young, deer and wild turkeys visit our nearby pastures. Cotton-tail bunnies dart in and out of scrap materials and the ever-present magpies remind us some things remain unchanged.

The company has worked with numerous local organizations and agencies to comply with land use codes, and to further green the land their father worked on for over sixty years. Long-term goals include the establishment of a park space: “We want to show a recycling place can be more than just a place to recycle metal,” said Al.

Inspiring! If a salvage yard can green itself, other businesses may have a tough time arguing they can’t…


  • One use for recycled cars (and other recycled materials): building.
  • Looking to green your own business? Check out our eco office supplies.

Image: Emory Stubblefield and daughter Lily Stubblefield Schoop in front of the “old” salvage yard. Credit: Stubblefield Salvage and Recycling