LRS announces the grand opening of The Exchange, a state-of-the-art MRF revolutionizing waste management and recycling practices. The new facility is located in the Stockyards neighborhood of Chicago and marks LRS’ pursuit to reshape the future of waste and recycling to lessen environmental impact across the Midwest. The Exchange marks a significant milestone in LRS’ mission to foster positive change within the industries and communities it serves through responsible waste practices. The Exchange boasts an impressive processing capacity of 25 tons of recyclables per hour and plans for future expansion to 35 tons per hour, playing a pivotal role in enhancing waste diversion efforts in the Chicagoland area.
“The Exchange stands as a powerful embodiment of our vision to become the safest, most innovative waste recycler globally,” said John Larsen, Chief Operating Officer at LRS. “It symbolizes our unwavering dedication to spearhead transformative change, not only within our industry but also within the communities we have the privilege to support.”
The facility — which is positioned within LRS’ 25-acre eco-park and creates a centralized location to house over 140 waste and recycling trucks to reduce transportation costs and emissions — is equipped to handle various types of waste, including single-stream recyclables, non-hazardous and non-special Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), and other recyclable materials. It uses cutting-edge sorting equipment, including six optical sorters, a CP Auger Screen and three Fire Rover Units, all managed by a skilled team of 11 sorting staff members. The Exchange is projected to divert 224 million pounds of recyclables annually, resulting in thousands of tons of avoided CO2 emissions.
The Exchange has not only made significant strides in environmental sustainability, but has also made a positive economic impact on the community. The facility has created over 50 new permanent positions and generated 95 construction jobs. Additionally, it supplies viable recyclable materials to numerous mills in the Midwest, contributing to regional economic development.
“Chicago is proud to welcome The Exchange Facility, a new and technologically advanced recycling sorting facility within city limits that marks an important step in our journey toward sustainable waste management,” said Department of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Cole Stallard. “The Exchange builds efficiencies into our municipal recycling operations, helping us move closer to our waste diversion goals, and ultimately a cleaner, greener, and more resilient Chicago.”
To celebrate this momentous achievement, LRS is hosting a grand opening of The Exchange on August 9, 2023. The event includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a celebration following at Marz Brewing Company. Local city officials, the Mayor’s Office, long-term partners, members of the media, LRS team members, and more are attending the event.
The development of The Exchange was made possible through an investment of over $50 million, along with crucial capital support from a range of different investors, including Closed Loop Partners, a leading circular economy investment firm. In partnership with Closed Loop Partners, LRS aims to integrate new technologies into the facility and bolster potential end markets for recycled materials, furthering the establishment of robust circular systems in the region.
“Closed Loop Partners’ Infrastructure Group is proud to invest in leading private and public organizations advancing infrastructure and technologies for materials circularity,” says Jennifer Louie, managing director, Closed Loop Infrastructure Group, Closed Loop Partners. “LRS is a leader in building the infrastructure for a circular economy in the Chicagoland region. With capital from our Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund, Circular Plastics Fund and Beverage Fund, we are thrilled to work with the LRS team to improve recycling systems in one of the largest cities in the U.S. Establishing strong partnerships with industry stakeholders remains a core tenet of our work at Closed Loop Partners and we are excited to have the support of the American Beverage Association in this project through Every Bottle Back and our Closed Loop Beverage Fund.”