Every year we survey recyclers to find out what's getting reprocessed. We also reach out to recycled material brokers to find out how much material is headed back out for re-use.
This year is no different, except that right in the middle of our research a pandemic hit the world.
With our best efforts we reached out and gathered data for 178 firms. No doubt next year's numbers will reflect the material issues faced in 2020. Sheltering at home has increased volumes of residential materials being set out for recycling, while at the same time, many service providers have suspended or limited curbside collections. But those are discussions for next year's volume report.
This week's print issue charts the top 25 reprocessors in North America and provides a directory for all the firms we've been able to confirm. As I worked my way through the listings, I noticed a bit of shuffling in the mix of reprocessed vs. brokered material, but on final analysis it was a wash with totals being very close to previous years.
The biggest news was the acquisition of Infiltrator Water Technologies LLC by Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., combining recycling listings under Green Line Polymers and taking over the No. 2 spot on our list. Waste Management Recycle America LLC collected a bit more material in 2019, but reprocessed a bit less, moving them down to our No. 5 spot.
Overall we've tracked 13.2 billion pounds of material, about the same weight as a 773 mile long train of hopper cars. It's interesting that the number of brokers has dropped 41 percent from 5 years ago and that the average volume per company for reprocessors is now 67.1 million pounds, an increase of 24 percent from 5 years ago. That's a huge capacity benchmark.
So who had the biggest gains in volume? Here are the top five:
• Mauser Packaging Solutions of Chicago.
• Berry Global Inc.'s Beaumont, Texas, operation.
• GHD of Pompano Beach, Fla.
• Green Line Polymers, Waterloo, Iowa/Winchester. Ky.
• RJM International Inc. of Tustin, Calif.