In a major recycling deal, Republic Services Inc. and Ravago Group have formed Blue Polymers LLC, a joint venture that will build and operate plants that will generate 100 percent post-consumer resins.
The joint venture will make high density polyethylene and polypropylene resins for consumer packaging and other applications using material collected and processed at Republic's polymer centers.
The venture will make both food-grade and non-food-grade resins.
"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 Jon Vander Ark, Republic president and CEO.
Ravago Holdings America President and CEO Jim Duffy said that his firm "is dedicated to investing and leading innovation in plastic recycling globally" and that partnering with Republic to provide transparency in post-consumer recycling "is transformative."
"With Republic's national collection and recycling center network and state-of-the-art polymer centers, we will be able to provide consistent volumes of the highest-quality post-consumer recycled resins to the market," Duffy said.
Products will include custom-blended and compounded materials to help customers achieve their sustainability goals and comply with federal, state or local requirements for recycled content.
Additionally, a portion of recycled PET flake from Republic's polymer centers will be marketed and distributed by Ravago.
In 2022, Republic processed more than 300 million pounds of plastics. Ravago has extensive expertise in distribution, resale, compounding and recycling for plastic materials, and can efficiently deliver to customers at scale, officials said.
Phoenix-based Republic is the second-largest solid waste management company in the U.S. In March 2022, the firm announced plans for its first polymer center — an integrated plastics recycling facility in Las Vegas. Officials said at the time that Republic planned to build similar plants elsewhere in the U.S.
The initial plant is expected to cost $50 million. Plastic will still be sorted and baled by Republic at its material recycling facility in Las Vegas, but instead of moving to third-party reprocessors, the material will be trucked to the polymer center.
A Republic spokesperson told Plastics News that four Blue Polymers facilities are planned to open over the next four years, beginning in late 2024. Combined, those plants are expected to produce 300 million pounds per year of recycled plastics.
The spokesperson added that locations and job creation numbers for the facilities have not been announced.
In July, Republic announced a deal to supply PET flake to beverage giant Coca-Cola Co., which plans to use at least 50 percent recycled content in its packaging by 2030.
Ravago, based in Luxembourg with a U.S. headquarters in Orlando, Fla., distributes, resells, compounds and recycles plastic raw materials at more than 325 locations across more than 55 countries worldwide. It employs 8,000 at 45 manufacturing facilities, including 19 recycling and compounding plants in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa with a combined annual capacity of about 1.7 billion pounds.
Ravago's distribution units include Amco Polymers, Channel Prime Alliance, Entec Polymers, Genesis Polymers and Muehlstein.