Republic Services to build plastics recycling operation on south side

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Republic Services Polymer Center

One of the nation’s largest solid-waste and recycling companies plans to open a large, new operation on the south side of Indianapolis next year with the goal of increasing the use of recycled plastic.

Republic Services Inc., based in Phoenix, held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning at the site, 1002 W. Hanna Ave., about three miles away from the South Side Landfill.

The recycling complex, with two side-by-side buildings, will span about 286,000 square feet. One building, called the Polymer Center, will be dedicated to plastic recycling. The other, called Blue Polymers, will be used for plastic manufacturing.

It could be a large step in a region known for its low recycling rates. Only about 11% of Indianapolis residents subscribe to a private recycling service, giving Marion County the distinction of having one of the lowest recycling rates in the state because of the low fees charged for trash pickup.

Republic Services called the development the “nation’s first integrated plastics recycling facility,” designed to address increasing demand from consumers and packaging manufacturers for recycled plastic.

The company said demand is increasing for high-quality, domestically sourced recycled plastic as more companies commit to using recycled content in packaging.

“Through our Polymer Center network and Blue Polymers partnership, we’re helping customers achieve their ambitious recycled content goals by producing high-quality recycled plastics,” Pete Keller, Republic Services vice president of recycling and sustainability, said in written remarks.

The company said the complex will support “true package-to-package circularity, allowing, for example, an orange detergent jug to be recycled into a new orange detergent jug.”

Indianapolis will become home to Republic Services’ second Polymer Center when it opens late next year. The first Polymer Center is opening in Las Vegas later this year. The company said more locations will follow.

The company did not disclose the price to build or staff the operation. It said the complex will create an estimated 125 permanent jobs. Republic Services and Blue Polymers (a joint venture with Belgian plastics company Ravago), selected Lauth Group Inc. for development and construction of the project.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has committed up to $2 million in incentive-based tax credits and up to $100,000 in workforce-training grants to Republic Services, based on the company’s investment and job creation plans.

The IEDC will also commit up to $4 million in Hoosier Business Investment tax credits, which are designed to help companies invest in smart manufacturing and new technologies, Republic Services said in a statement.

“We are grateful that Republic Services chose Indiana for such an innovative recycling facility, and as a state we are well-positioned to set them up for success and growth well into the future,” Indiana Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg said in written remarks.

Mayor Joe Hogsett said the operations shows Republic Services’ “leadership in sustainability and great commitment to the city of Indianapolis, our skilled workforce and the community as a whole.”

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