Aggregation & Recovery Collaboratives
On their journey to zero waste, many of our customers have reached a point where the path gets steeper. They are recycling their cardboard, metal, and other "traditional" recyclables. They have programs in place for food waste. The dominant streams in their waste dumpsters are now items like plastic tubing, wooden reels, film plastics, packaged food and beverages, label backing, and more. What fills their dumpsters today is a miscellany of stuff that is unique to their business, with no off-the-shelf recovery solution.
This lack of easy solutions often doesn’t reflect a lack of recovery value. In fact, many of these items may be quite valuable when in the right quantities and in the right place. To capture these materials, we have begun developing and deploying Aggregation & Recovery Collaboratives (ARC™), through which local organizations come together to establish practical resource recovery operations tailored to their unique needs.
We established our first ARC in Lebanon, NH, with Hypertherm, a manufacturer of industrial cutting systems. The operation, detailed in the side bar to the right, has helped to increase that company’s recycling rate from 43% to over 97%, while also serving others throughout the region.
ARCs enable innovative recovery solutions through risk- and reward-sharing, aggregation and densification technologies, and efficient access to reuse and recycling markets. The model can be replicated in any geography, and tailored to handle any combination of materials, allowing for the recovery of numerous items that were previously considered “unrecoverable.” Although these items are often lightweight, they have high embedded energy, carbon, and other resource value, and are highly worthwhile to recover.
ARCs have an innovative, yet flexible, business model built around aligned incentives, modular equipment, and revenue transparency. The scope extends from point-of-generation through to commodity marketing. The specifics of property ownership, revenue sharing, and contractual relationships are established on a case-by-case basis. The approach resists "technology for the sake of technology" and focuses instead on practical problem-solving and a “get the job done” attitude.
Establishing a successful ARC requires very close collaboration and a pioneering spirit among the partnering stakeholders. Casella brings expertise in logistics, handling, processing equipment, and commodity markets. Generator partners bring a commitment to waste reduction, volumes of recyclable items, and in some cases, tangible assets such as equipment, vehicles, or warehouse space. Most importantly, all partners contribute a willingness to work together to create enduring solutions to serve their unique local materials recovery needs.