Garbage giant Waste Management announced on Tuesday that it will acquire a majority stake in another Houston company known for its work in advanced recycling.

Waste Management, based in Houston and the largest waste disposal company in the United States, said the joint venture with Avangard Innovative will strengthen the company’s ability to handle hard-to-recycle soft plastics such as garbage bags. groceries, take-out containers and shrink wrap.

The deal, which is expected to close later this year, also reinforces the company’s ambition to integrate the evolution of technology into its operations at a time when consumers are demanding that more plastics be recycled and diverted from landfills.

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“Today there is so much untapped potential for reusing film – impacting many of our commercial customers,” Waste Management CEO Jim Fish said in a statement. “We can help our customers close the loop and bring more recycled materials to store shelves.”

Waste Management is acquiring a majority stake in Avanguard’s US operations, which include two new plastics recycling facilities under development north of Houston and in Indiana. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The joint venture between the two companies, called Natura PCR, will divert plastic films and bags from waste streams, break them down into resin and resell them to companies such as Dow, who use them to make new plastics. Natura aims to increase its plastic recycling capacity to produce approximately 400 million pounds per year of post-consumer resin (PCR) in five years.

About a quarter of new plastic is produced for use in products such as plastic packaging and grocery wrap, but only about 5% of that is recycled, Avangard CEO Rick Perez said. It’s something his company is working to change.

Today, as consumers become more environmentally conscious and increase their pressure on businesses, demand is catching up with Avangard’s mission.

“Society has created this demand to do the right thing for the environment,” Perez said. “When consumers ultimately expect the supply chain to do the right thing, everything in the supply chain must follow that demand.”

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