Republic Services to build integrated plastic recycling facility

Republic Services Inc., Phoenix, has announced plans to construct an integrated plastics recycling facility in Las Vegas. The company says it will address increasing demand from consumer brands and packaging manufacturers for recycled plastic.

“Packaged goods manufacturers have set ambitious targets to use more postconsumer content in their products, but the current supply of recycled plastics falls short,” says Republic President and CEO Jon Vander Ark.

Dubbed the First Polymer Center, the facility is expected to open in 2023. According to a news release from the company, the facility is expected to produce more than 100 million pounds annually of recycled plastic products. This includes 100 percent post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flake delivered to the food-grade marketplace to enable bottle-to-bottle circularity.  

“The facility has an inbound design capacity of 160 million pounds,” says Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic.

The facility will handle material from Republic’s facilities in the West as a result of increased demand for recycled content due to new legislation in California and Washington that requires postconsumer recycled plastic to be used in new products. Both require 50 percent postconsumer recycled plastic content by 2030.

The facility will be equipped with a turnkey system from Krones, based in Germany, optical sorters, bale-breaking equipment, wire-tie removal and recovery machinery. It also will use wet grinding and a float-sink tank to separate PET from label and cap materials.

Engineering for the facility is complete and applications for permits were submitted in late February, Keller says. The facility will be built onto an existing structure that will be expanded and retrofitted.

In addition to the First Polymer Center, Republic plans to build up to three more facilities like this in regions that will enable it to provide nationwide coverage. The facilities are expected to be operational by 2025, Keller says.

The company says the centers directly support its goal of increasing the recovery and circularity of key materials by 40 percent by 2030.