WM, Houston, has announced that it has agreed to acquire a controlling interest in Houston-based American business Avangard Innovative, which will operate as Natura PCR – a stand-alone company expected to scale and increase recycling capacity to produced about 400 million pounds per year of post-consumer resin (PCR) in five years.
The transaction is expected to close in late 2022, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Through Natura PCR, WM expects to offer new recycling capabilities to its customers and offer circular solutions for clear plastic films and wrap used in the market, such as plastic wrap for pallets, furniture film, grocery bags and potentially shrunk around food and drink containers.
“WM’s controlling interest in Natura PCR positions us to grow and scale rapidly in the emerging PCR space,” said WM President and CEO Jim Fish. “WM’s key material supply capabilities, with the head start and knowledge provided by Avangard’s US business, will help Natura PCR quickly offer circular options to WM customers as an important component of our continued growth strategy in recycling. Today, there is so much untapped potential to reuse film – which impacts many of our commercial customers. We can help our customers close the loop and bring more recycled materials to the store shelf.”
Leading materials science company Dow, Midland, Michigan, has worked with WM to help increase plastics recycling rates and create sustainable solutions in packaging, infrastructure and consumer applications. Dow has also been working with Avangard Innovative since early 2020, purchasing the company’s PCR pellets to produce REVOLOOP, Dow’s line of PCR-containing products.
“We have worked with both companies to increase the use of recycled plastics in Dow’s products, and Natura PCR brings together capabilities that will open up more options for hard-to-recycle plastics for the industry,” says Nestor de Mattos, commercial in North America. vice president of packaging and specialty plastics at Dow. “Natura PCR further expands scale, waste solutions to market across North America and advances our goal to help divert plastics from landfills into circular solutions.”
Natura PCR will focus on the mechanical recycling of film and flexible plastics – some of the most complex plastics in the recycling stream today – and will convert these materials into PCR that can be used to produce new products that replace virgin materials . These streams account for almost a quarter of today’s plastic generation, but only about 5 percent is recycled today.
Demand for PCR is expected to increase in response to consumer packaged goods companies’ commitments to use recycled content and pressure from consumers and regulators to increase PCR content in the packaging materials companies produce. WM has demonstrated a history of sourcing materials from commercial streams for the starting material required to produce PCR content and expects that its materials sourcing expertise will enable it to increase the supply of PCR pellets that Natura PCR can produce for use in new products.
“This transaction helps the business quickly scale operations, maximize raw material resources and meet the continued growth in demand for environmental additives such as recycled plastic resin,” says Avangard Innovative CEO Rick Perez. “After 30 years in the recycling business, the significant involvement of WM, together with the strong relationship with Dow and other customers, will position Natura PCR to offer the most innovative circular economy solution on the market.”
Natura PCR plans to expand its recycling capabilities at Avangard’s existing plant in Waller, Texas and build new plant capacity in the Midwest. Natura PCR will be primarily owned and controlled by WM. Avangard and related entities will hold a collective minority equity position in Natura PCR. WM expects to receive investment returns comparable to its previously announced automation investments in single-stream recycling.
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