Case studies

Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund & Lakeshore Recycling Systems

Lakeshore Recycling logo

Lakeshore has the long term contract to process residential and commercial recycling in the City of Chicago and surrounding areas.

The Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund participated in the financing of Lakeshore’s MRF, to increase profitability through an innovative business model that increased throughput from 20 tons/day to 20 tons/hour, with increased revenue opportunities and savings.

Since opening, Heartland, Lakeshore’s MRF, has been generating nearly $100/ton in revenues from commodity sales. Operating costs/ton (including disposal of residue) are approximately $50/ton, making Lakeshore’s net operating profit at Heartland nearly $50/ton. In addition, the broader operations benefit from transportation and tip fee savings.

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Heartland is projected to divert more than 110,000 tons of recyclables per year. By 2025, that will mean more than 1 million tons out of landfills.

3,030,000 metrics tons of GHG emissions avoided by 2025

The opening of the Heartland single-stream facility has created over 100 Cook County jobs

Lakeshore is continuously optimizing the Heartland MRF to recycle all that it can, which means that the team must regularly scrutinize the inbound materials mix coming from third-party sources and outbound commodities pricing.

As of August 2016, they’ve been able to maintain average revenue of approximately $100/ton on outbound sales of commodities, with 92% of inbound material being single stream. Unlike other facilities around the country, they are keeping glass in the single stream mix, which they are able to sell to a nearby glass processor.



Lakeshore is a best-in-class operator with a relatively atypical model that we believe others should emulate:
  • Established success with pure play model: Lakeshore’s model is predicated on not having a landfill, and is therefore not “conflicted” over inexpensive disposal costs. The company has successfully managed other MRFs in the area prior to the Heartland facility.
  • Integrated operations: Lakeshore operates residential and commercial hauling services, MRFs, C&D recycling, and an organics program, creating leverage across businesses and greater opportunity for diversion. Heartland is co-located with the C&D operation, providing additional leverage.
  • Significant market share: Lakeshore controls nearly one-third of the region’s material, ensuring sufficient volumes.
  • “Good Neighbor” to local operators: Lakeshore attributes its success, in part, to its ability to maintain excellent working relationships with local private operators and municipalities alike; most are located within 20 miles of its facility



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For nearly 20 years, Lakeshore Recycling Systems has provided recycling and 100% waste diversion programs to businesses and homeowners.

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