Portfolio Company Spotlight
A feature on a Closed Loop Partners investment

Creating a Campaign and Improving Infrastructure

Scott County logo

With financing from the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund, the Waste Commission of Scott County will increase participation and diversion with a new single-stream collection program for 48,500 households and an upgraded MRF, with more than double capacity to serve the Quad Cities region.

When the Scott Area Recycling Center’s aging recycling equipment needed to be replaced, the Waste Commission of Scott County and its intergovernmental partners, the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, pursued the change from dual- to single-stream recycling. The change allows for the preservation of space at the Commission’s Scott Area Landfill, saves natural resources and allows for safer and more efficient collection by member cities’ public works departments. The Commission and its partners invested in larger capacity carts for curbside recycling, a redesigned single-stream MRF, and an extensive education campaign to increase diversion and participation in recycling.

Waste Commission of Scott County is a 28E, inter-governmental agency that was established in 1972 and reorganized in 1990. Our members include 17 communities and Scott County.

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Impact Highlights

88,000 tons of recyclables diverted by 2025

$2.5M economic benefit to municipalities

248,000 metrics tons of CO2 emissions avoided by 2025

The Results

In its first months of operations in 2016, the upgraded MRF has seen a 61% increase in volumes over the same months last year. Davenport has seen a 77% increase in recycling volumes. Bettendorf, which previously had dual-stream carts, has seen a 36% increase. This is a model of how mid-sized communities can finance the deployment of a comprehensive recycling program that is profitable for the participating communities.

As more municipalities consider privatizing recycling operations, Scott County is a model for how public management can succeed.

What to look for:

  • Committed and aligned public officials: The Scott County Board of Supervisors and Bettendorf and Davenport city leaders were instrumental in guiding the Commission’s transition to single-stream recycling, and supporting the bond measure for this project;
  • Vertically integrated operations: The Commission manages sortation, as well as markets its commodities throughout the area. It also coordinates closely with intergovernmental partners, who manage collections;
  • Solutions for a wide range of accepted materials: The Commission operates programs for household hazardous waste, e-waste, and appliances, in addition to the recycling center and landfill, which means cross-contamination has a greater chance of being handled appropriately;
  • Sufficient volumes in the County with additional regional opportunities: With the upgraded MRF, the Commission is well-positioned to support the recycling needs of not only all residents of the County, but also those of the greater Quad Cities region and western Illinois.

Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund’s loan was a godsend. [The cities of] Davenport and Bettendorf, and the Waste Commission [of Scott County] had been talking about moving to single-stream for 10 years. As budgets were tightening, it wouldn’t have been possible to do this project without the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund’s help.

Todd Jones, Superintendent of Services, City of Davenport, Iowa

For more information about Waste Commission of Scott County, please visit their website.

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Portfolio Company Spotlight
A feature on a Closed Loop Partners investment

From 20 Tons Per Day to 20 Tons Per Hour

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 per day to 20 tons per hour, with increased revenue opportunities and savings.

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

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

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Impact Highlights

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 per 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.

The Results

Lakeshore is a best-in-class operator with a relatively atypical model that serves as a strong example:
  • 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

For more information about Lakeshore Recycling Systems, please visit their website.

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Portfolio Company Spotlight
A feature on a Closed Loop Partners investment

Turning Glass Waste into Construction Materials

Aero Aggregates logo

In the mid-Atlantic, AeroAggregates is changing the game for glass processors by producing an ultra-lightweight construction aggregate called foamed glass.

Foamed glass resembles volcanic pumice stone, but is strong enough to be used in a wide variety of road, building and infrastructure projects. AeroAggregates is the first U.S.-based manufacturer of the product, which is is less energy-intensive to produce and transport than other lightweight aggregates.

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Impact Highlights

Mixed glass accounts for up to 25% of the stream of recycled materials by weight in the United States.

As of the end of 2018, AeroAggregates has diverted 32,000 tons of glass – or 146 million bottles – from landfill in the Philadelphia region. By 2025, it is estimated that over 260,000 tons will be diverted from landfills.

73,000 metric tons of GHG emissions avoided by 2025.

The greater Philadelphia area has 2.4 million households, and the typical household generates 100 pounds of glass recyclables a year, which translates to 120,000 tons of recyclable glass available each year for reuse.

Foamed glass weighs 85% less than traditional aggregates, which makes it less expensive and polluting to transport.

The market for lightweight aggregate alone is estimated at 8 million tons per year.

Key to the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund’s investment strategy is developing new end-markets for low- and no-value post-consumer recyclable commodities, including glass, while creating value throughout the supply chain.

An investment in AeroAggregates is accomplishing both aims. AeroAggregates is the first company of its kind in the United States, using glass to produce an ultra-lightweight construction aggregate and in doing so, creating a valuable new revenue stream for local MRFs.

By closing the loop for glass, AeroAggregates is also changing the profitability of materials recovery facilities (MRFs). Aero’s business model recognizes that MRFs need to receive value for their glass, which creates two streams of economic benefits: fees for the purchase of glass, and avoided landfill tip fees for glass that MRFs may have previously been unable to sell because of limited end-uses.

For more information on AeroAggregates, please visit their website.

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