Waste Management truck refueling.

Waste Management says it is on the hunt for more “sustainable solutions” for recovering materials. | Courtesy of Waste Management

A joint venture between Waste Management and an investment firm will recycle plastic and paper scrap into a construction material.

Waste Management Organic Growth, a subsidiary of Waste Management (WM), on Jan. 13 announced a joint venture with Tailwater Capital. The partnership will provide financial, commercial and operational support to grow Continuus Materials, a company that recycles mixed paper and plastic into a roofing board branded Everboard.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Growing need for downstream solutions

The move is the latest example of a large industry player taking steps to develop domestic end markets for lower-value material in the wake of China’s National Sword campaign.

“At WM, we are unlocking impactful sustainable solutions as we move toward a more circular economy, and the Continuus Materials business is one example of what we’re aiming to achieve,” Jim Fish, president and CEO of WM stated in a press release. “Continuus Materials brings an innovative solution that recovers recyclable materials in addition to materials that cannot otherwise be recycled and gives them a new, purposeful life.”

WM and a company called Continuus Energy have for several years had a Philadelphia joint venture that processes MSW into a fuel for energy production. Continuus Materials grew out of that effort. It manufactures a higher-value product from mixed and contaminated material that would otherwise be shipped for waste to energy.

In 2018, Continuus Materials grew with the acquisition of Iowa company ReWall, which specialized in recycling food and beverage cartons into construction materials. Continuus Materials operates a pilot production plant in Des Moines.

Continuus Materials has also participated in testing to use recovered flexible plastic film in its end products.

According to the Jan. 13 press release, the new joint venture will allow Continuus Materials to develop additional facilities at WM sites and launch its first full-scale Everboard production plant. The plant is expected to produce over 150 million square feet of Everboard annually within the first three years.

Based in Dallas, Tailwater Capital is a private equity firm that focuses on growth-oriented energy and infrastructure companies.

“We are pleased to join together with WM and the Continuus Materials team to support a visionary business that is committed to extracting valuable new products from existing waste streams,” said Edward Herring, co-founder and managing partner at Tailwater Capital. “This joint venture is an extension of Tailwater’s long track record and continued focus on identifying opportunities to implement sustainable solutions across the recycling and byproduct supply chain.”

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