With a mission to re-position waste as a strategic community resource, ReCommunity has become the largest pure-play recycling company in the U.S.—and plan to keep on growing.

ReCommunity (Charlotte, NC) was created in 2011 when Intersection Partners and a group of investors acquired parts of the recycling assets of FCR, Inc, which was a subsidiary of Casella Waste Systems, Inc. They renamed the company ReCommunity to highlight their mission of leading the ‘Recovery Revolution®’ and to reflect their community-centric values. With the acquisition of Hudson Baylor earlier this year, ReCommunity became the largest pure-play recycling company in the U.S., with 36 facilities in 13 states, and more than 1,500 employees. Pure-play means they don’t own landfills or trucks. The company is unique in the fact that they are singularly focused on maximizing recovery and recycling for partner communities. At ReCommunity, recycling is more than processing and marketing tons of aluminum cans, plastic bottles and paper. They believe in the restorative power of recycling and what it can do to build jobs, to build revenue and to build a future for communities. Committed to this powerful idea, ReCommunity pursues continuous innovation and a vision of zero waste. This community-centric vision demands a special brand of imagination, enterprise, courage and confidence to dramatically reduce the volume of landfilled waste.

ReCommunity’s mission is to reposition waste as a strategic community resource, instead of a growing liability. In 2011, they recovered, processed and marketed nearly 2 million tons of recyclables, enabling community partners to generate additional revenue, recover community-owned resources, create new jobs, fund budget shortfalls and reduce their carbon footprint.

Because all of ReCommunity’s employees are committed to ‘Leading the Recovery Revolution®’, the company culture is truly a family. They all work very closely together and are all passionate about their mission of diverting as much as possible from landfills into the recycling stream. Most employees have long tenures with the company, which shows how committed the entire team is to the company mission.

No Signs of Backing Down
ReCommunity works each day to extend their services and partnerships with additional forward-thinking communities. Says Jeff Fielkow, ReCommunity’s executive vice president of revenue and growth, “We know first-hand there is economic-social-environmental power in recovering and transforming materials from what was once called the waste stream. However, regardless of economic conditions, we have a proven record of outperforming competitors and market indices in commanding superior pricing for commodities.” In fact, ReCommunity even successfully honored the terms of all their contracts and serviced all of their customers through the worst of the 2008/2009 market crash. “We have never failed to accept, process or market recyclable materials—even during the most trying economic times. Our proven reliability and performance is the result of our bringing a host of patented technologies and processes together to transform the way communities transform their waste into value,” Fielkow says. “Regardless of economic trends, success is all about quality. Certainly quality increases in importance when pricing drops. But finding the highest and best use of the material also works to raise the floor price of commodities. We use hedging tools to reduce risk to our portfolio. This is something we offer our customers to reduce their risk as well.”

The Recovery Revolution
Fielkow goes on to stress that ReCommunity aims to lead a Recovery RevolutionTM and the biggest challenge is gaining momentum for an entirely new way of thinking. In this case, how people think about waste. In doing so, Fielkow points out that changing how people think about waste is a challenge that requires tremendous amounts of education, proven performance and unrelenting dedication to innovation. “Since the beginning of the 20th century, our country has thrived within an industrial-economic model that’s allowed us to modernize. While this has helped us thrive with groundbreaking technological advances, the byproduct of that model has been a cumbersome and rapidly expanding waste stream. As we approach a global population of 9 billion people, we find ourselves in a world of constrained commodities, reduced traditional energy reserves, overflowing landfills and shifting options. Every year, communities across America throw away millions of tons of aluminum, plastics, paper and other valuable resources that can be recycled or reused, turned into new products or made into green fuel. Up to 90 percent of trash goes into landfills, where it threatens our air, land and water without growing our economy. The first step in changing this trajectory is changing our perspective. This is the very reason for the ReCommunity Recovery Revolution.”

 Part of ReCommunity’s mission is to educate their communities about the benefits and facts of recycling. Part of the educational process is to provide facility tours and a recycling education center for community members. Taking into consideration that school funding may make field trips to recycling facilities increasingly challenging, ReCommunity has begun to create a virtual educational platform on their Web site (www.recommunity.com/education). The goal is to create a suite of interactive tools and videos for schools and organizations to learn more about the company’s recycling facilities and the recycling process in general. Fielkow says “This provides the experience and education one would receive when visiting a ReCommunity recycling facility.”

Looking Ahead
Striving to be the largest, most complete resource recovery operation in the nation, ReCommunity wants to have the best solutions that are continuously improved and tailored in the most productive fashion for community partners. “We are always rethinking conventional recycling and our role in building more vibrant American communities in the process,” says Fielkow. “On our visionary pathway to zero waste, there are a host of efforts, investments and commitments to innovation and technology, including: conversion of dual stream recycling into single stream technology, innovative new recycling bins, new ways to secure active recycling behavior at home, at work and in our schools, as well as green transformational energy technologies that convert unrecycled commodities within the waste stream into environmentally-friendly energy feedstocks.”

For more information about ReCommunity, a full list of their partner communities or to learn more about what happens inside a recycling facility, visit www.ReCommunity.com