Midwest recycling operator expands with commercial plant

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Quincy Recycle's Green Bay facility

Quincy Recycle plans to start up the 64,000-square-foot facility early next year.

Quincy Recycle has opened its eighth recycling facility to handle material from back-of-house commercial and industrial settings, underscoring opportunity in these areas despite a pandemic-driven decline in commercial material generation.

The Quincy, Ill.-headquartered recycling firm recently announced its expansion with a Green Bay, Wis. location. The company has ordered processing equipment and plans to start up the 64,000-square-foot facility, which is housed in an existing warehouse, at the beginning of next year.

The new plant follows a model Quincy uses in each of its facilities, said Kurt McLaughlin, vice president of sales and marketing for the company. The facility handles mixed-commodity trailers coming exclusively from industrial and commercial clients.

Inbound materials are clean streams of OCC, plastics, some metals and more. Quincy handles recyclables generated by a variety of commercial entities. Clients include food industry operations such as processors, distributors and packagers; the printing and writing industry; distribution centers and logistics providers; and more. The company also works with plastics processors and manufacturers, as well as with other recycling operations.

“Some people have called our plants ‘clean MRFs.’ We’re not handling residential. We don’t have a sort line at our plants,” McLaughlin said.

Instead, materials are aggregated and prepared for shipment directly to end markets. For example, loose cardboard will be baled and paper rolls will be cut down to a uniform size using a guillotine cutter to prepare them for an end user.

Quincy’s expansion highlights continuing commercial recycling generation in certain sectors, despite recent trends. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a significant shift in recyclable material generation from the commercial to the residential stream, as offices, schools and other organizations have slowed operations or shut down altogether. But the markets Quincy serves are going strong, McLaughlin explained.

“Our business-to-business clients are still generating volumes of scrap that are stable,” McLaughlin said. Consumer goods, including food and other items, are still moving to market, and that means plenty of activity at distribution centers.

“The trends in the consumer products and consumer packaging group are still favorable,” McLaughlin said.

End users, including paper mills and plastic reclaimers, are fairly abundant in the Green Bay area, as well as in much of the surrounding region.

“In fact, the entire state of Wisconsin is a very strong state from an end-market standpoint for both recovered fiber and plastic,” McLaughlin said.

He declined to share the estimated tonnage the facility will process.

The company’s closest recycling facility to the new space is in West Bend, Wis., and business success at that plant played into the decision to open a new facility. McLaughlin said the company saw a significant market opportunity in having a presence in Green Bay. There are parts of Minnesota the company couldn’t properly service out of the West Bend plant, he explained.

“We see some freight advantages. We see some processing advantages,” McLaughlin said. “It really became pretty apparent we need to get in there.”

The new space has rail access that Quincy will be updating, he said.

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