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October 1, 2014

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Republic’s purchase of Evergreen could bring recycling boost

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Steve Marcus

Recyclables are sorted at the Republic Services recycling plant.

Recycling in Las Vegas finally may become the norm, thanks in part to Republic Services’ purchase of the Las Vegas-based recycling company Evergreen.

The deal was finalized July 16 and made Evergreen a subsidiary of the waste management giant.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but said it would include Evergreen’s 50,000-square-foot recycling facility in North Las Vegas.

The move will allow Republic to focus on a planned expansion and upgrade of its residential recycling programs while improving commercial, construction and industrial recycling in the valley.

The announcement comes amid mounting pressure from cities, Clark County and the state to increase the volume of waste recycled.

The state and the federal government have set goals of 25 percent of waste to be recycled. Only 17 percent of Southern Nevada’s waste is recycled. The national average is 35 percent.

Because most of the county’s waste — about 65 percent — is commercial and industrial, the merger with Evergreen when coupled with the planned expansion of Republic’s facilities should go a long way toward the county meeting its recycling goals, said Bob Coyle, Republic Services’ area president.

Clark County recently formed a committee of recycling companies, community leaders and representatives of the cities Republic serves. Its goal has been to unify their recycling goals and demands for improved recycling programs. The aim is to dramatically increase recycling in the area.

Click to enlarge photo

Chris Giunchigliani

Committee leader and County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said the merger had the potential to move things along more quickly than if the two went on alone.

Ground wasn’t expected to be broken for the new Republic facility until next month and it won’t be completed for a year. The merger with Evergreen could allow the company to increase overall commercial recycling rates more rapidly.

“I think they said, ‘Why do we need to build a $20 million facility when we can go buy Evergreen, pick up their contracts and get a state-of-the-art facility,’ ” Giunchigliani said. “It will minimize competition and bring someone in who has done it.”

Republic announced plans in April to dramatically increase its commercial recycling capacity with a $25 million expansion of its North Las Vegas recycling facility. The facility would increase the amount of residential waste that could be recycled and would allow the company to recycle more types of commercial waste, including most of the stuff Evergreen was recycling.

Evergreen has been the leader in construction waste and greenwaste recycling in the valley almost since it opened in 2007. Up to 2006, Republic Services had a contract with the county that made it the only option for commercial recycling in town. But county commissioners, hoping to increase recycling by businesses, opened the field to outside companies.

Evergreen is best known for recycling the construction waste from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design buildings across the valley, including CityCenter. It has also grown a reputation for finding creative ways to repurpose hard-to-sell waste materials such as landscape waste, which is shredded and sold to local Indian tribes and companies to make mulch, and worn-out plastic hotel room keys that are sold to eco-conscious manufacturers to make an array of hard plastic products.

The companies plan to incorporate that entrepreneurial spirit into the wider recycling operations.

“Our corporate culture will still drive this,” Evergreen President Rob Dorinson said. “We’ll be working under the Republic umbrella, but clearly they want to keep our mojo working.”

The companies hope their merged recycling program will be successful enough for Republic to take to other markets across the country, Dorinson said.

Evergreen will continue its current contracts and take over much of the commercial recycling operations for Republic. It has a state-of-the-art construction waste reprocessing facility off Nellis Boulevard that was built in 2007 at the apex of the building boom. The Las Vegas-based recycling company currently processes about 400 tons of waste a month there.

With Republic’s marketing and sales might, Evergreen can better reach new customers, and as the new facility comes online, both companies can dramatically increase their output.

With the Evergreen facility taking care of much of the commercial recycling, Republic can also shift more of its focus to residential recycling.

To find ways to increase participation, Republic has been field-testing a variety of new recycling collection programs in some neighborhoods, including more frequent pickup of recyclables and single-bin collection.

Initial pilot programs showed neighborhoods recycled five times the waste when customers were given a single bin for all their recyclable materials, according to Coyle. The company is also testing recycling collection in apartment complexes and condos.

With the merger, Republic will put off construction of the new facility by about six months while the companies hash out which types of waste Evergreen will process and what new equipment Republic will need, Coyle said.

“We want to make sure we’re putting the right equipment into the new building,” Coyle said. “Evergreen has a great construction recycling processing capability, so we can take our construction material to that facility and process it there,” he said. “At the same time there are some materials they are handling that we can handle more efficiently at our facility. And the new Republic facility will have new equipment that can complement the other two.”

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