Balcones Resources Inc., an Austin, Texas-based material recovery facility (MRF) operator and environmental services company that is 80 percent owned by New York City-based investment firm Closed Loop Partners, has announced the acquisition of Single Stream Recyclers (SSR) of Sarasota, Florida. According to a news release about the transaction issued by Balcones, the purchase “represents the growing footprint of best-in-class recycling facilities in the South focused on updating, optimizing and reinvigorating recycling infrastructure in the United States to keep valuable materials—paper, plastics, and metals—in manufacturing supply chains.”
The acquired company will operate as SSR, a Balcones Resources Co.
SSR operates an artificial intelligence- (AI-) powered MRF in Sarasota, and Balcones operates MRFs in Austin, Dallas and in Little Rock, Arkansas. Balcones serves municipalities, multitenant facilities, corporate campuses, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers.
“Bringing Single Stream Recyclers into the Balcones orbit moves us several leaps forward in our shared vision to scale modern, innovative recycling infrastructure to build circular supply chains,” says Joaquin Mariel, chief operating officer of Balcones Resources. “The energy, integrity and expertise that SSR’s operators bring to the table will only enhance our playbook and bring our specific level of excellence to more markets.”
SSR focuses on processing recyclables from residential and commercial single-stream programs within the Florida market. The company is at the forefront of modernizing recycling by pioneering advanced technologies, including AI, robotics and optical sorters, Balcones says. The facility currently has 14 robots from Amp Robotics, Denver, installed to increase sorting efficiency and the quality of recovered recyclables, which is helping to transform the economics of the recycling system.
John Hansen and Eric Konik, founders of SSR and industry veterans, have been working together since 2006 to modernize the recycling industry, Balcones says. They have more than 50 years of combined experience in recycling, with expertise in building and operating best-in-class facilities that create commodities that are ready to go back into packaging and product supply chains, Balcones says. The business partners are known for their hands-on approach to growing recycling facilities and their insight into how each division of an organization functions together.
“We built SSR as we saw a huge need for improved recycling infrastructure with more efficient processing capabilities,” Hansen says. “With the growing demand from companies for high-quality recycled content, it is time to build the materials recovery facilities of the future that will be the hubs of these supply chains. In partnership with our friends at Balcones and Closed Loop Partners, we can scale the systems needed to realize that circular vision.”
Sarah Kaylor, director of sales and marketing for Balcones, says Hansen and Konik will remain with Balcones, where they will be tasked with business development, including acquisition opportunities.
The staff of SSR, which numbers approximately 90 people, also will be retained, Kaylor says.
Balcones Resources has been in business for more than 25 years, handling commercial and residential recycling, among other services, in Texas and Arkansas. Balcones says it was looking for a partner that would bring the same level of operational excellence and long-term relationships to help the company expand into new markets.
“Single Stream Recyclers is a valued community partner and has the kind of experience and operational knowledge that aligns with our organization’s management team,” Kerry Getter, chairman and CEO of Balcones Resources, says. “Together we will be able to offer state-of-the-art equipment and innovative technology that will help us continue to revolutionize the recycling industry.”
This will be Balcones’ first acquisition since Closed Loop Partners obtained a majority stake in the company in 2019 through its private equity fund, the Closed Loop Leadership Fund. The purchase of Single Stream Recyclers is part of what Balcones says is its strategy to scale recycling across the United States and provide new opportunities and further sustainability initiatives for its employees, customers and investors.
“To scale the new economic model of the future—the circular economy—we need partners committed to building models that efficiently return high value recycled commodities back into products and packaging,” says Maite Quinn, managing director, Closed Loop Partners. “With Balcones Resources and Single Stream Recyclers joining forces, alongside our broad network of engaged investors, including corporate investors like Microsoft, institutional investors and family offices, together we can eliminate waste, reduce costs and increase efficiencies.”
Balcones recently invested in its Austin MRF, adding three Cirrus FiberMax optical sorters from Nashville, Tennessee-based MSS Inc., the optical sorting division of San Diego-based CP Group. The FiberMax optical sorters have been focused on removing fugitive plastics and other contaminants from the paper stream. The company also added two robots from Amp Robotics that are performing positive sorting on the container line.
Kaylor says the purchase of SSR will increase the volume of material Balcones handles by roughly 100,000 tons annually. Balcones' three MRFs handled roughly 200,000 tons of material in 2019.