Republic Services will launch four new recycled plastic production facilities in partnership with Ravago, a polymer recycling and distribution company.
The two companies announced the launch of Blue Polymers, LLC, which aims to build the production centers over four years, starting in late 2024. The companies expect to produce a combined 300 million pounds of recycled plastics annually. The $350 million joint venture project is 55% backed by Ravago and 45% backed by Republic, Plastics Recycling Update reported.
The partnership is meant to ramp up supply of 100% recycled material, which plastic manufacturers need to “advance sustainable packaging solutions” and meet their sustainability goals, the companies said in a statement.
"Companies today are setting aggressive recycled content goals, and Republic Services has a unique opportunity to meet the demand for high-quality recycled plastics through our Polymer Centers, and now the creation of Blue Polymers," said Republic CEO Jon Vander Ark in a statement.
The Blue Polymers facilities will take recycled PE and PP from Republic Services' planned polymer centers to create recycled resin for both food-grade and non-food-grade applications. The joint venture will also offer custom-blended and compound products based on customer demands and the need to comply with local, state or federal recycled content requirements, they said.
Last year, Republic first announced its plans to build polymer centers across the country to advance its vertical integration, and its first facility is expected to open in Las Vegas later this year. Republic has plans to open another in the Midwest in 2024, with two additional centers to come later on. Such centers are expected to have a dedicated PET line and one for HDPE and PP. The new Blue Polymers centers are intended to further the integration, according to Resource Recycling.
In most cases, the Blue Polymers plants will be built at the same location as Republic’s polymer centers, Resource Recycling reported. The Blue Polymers partnership is meant to draw on both Republic’s national collection and recycling network and Ravago’s expertise in distribution, resale and compounding to provide “transparency in the post-consumer recycling process” and make postconsumer resin supplies more consistent and higher-quality, said Jim Duffy, president and CEO of Ravago Holdings America, in a statement. Blue Polymers’ Las Vegas facility will be built in the vicinity of Republic’s polymer center.
Republic announced earlier this month that Coca-Cola will be the first customer for the PET it will process at its polymer centers. Ravago will also market and distribute a portion of Republic’s rPET flake “through its extensive customer network,” according to the news release.
Republic says it processed 5 million tons of recyclables, including more than 300 million pounds of plastics, in 2022.