How one Katy man turned other business’ trash into a multimillion-dollar operation 

We recycle everything from cardboard to plastic. Put it in the bin and you feel good about yourself and your small contribution to the environment, but what happens when big companies need more than one of these? It’s a growing industry here in Houston!

“We collect film from mattress retailers, furniture and grocery stores in particular,” Avangard Innovative  COO Jon Stephen said. “Our key market that we sell it into— which not many others do— is going back into new film, new bag applications. We also sell some sheathing and some extrusion applications.”

Avangard Innovative is more than a waste and recycling company, it’s a “business plan” turning trash into cash and it’s getting attention from thousands of large corporations ranging from grocery store chains to worldwide manufacturers.

“If you look at multi-, large, big international companies have 2,000 – 3,000 locations, so how do you manage that? How do you look at optimizing that and making sure things are not going into landfills and the ocean,” CEO Rick Perez said. “What we do, we are looking at every single piece every time it goes into a waste stream or captured for recycling. And then we track that all the way through to make sure it’s going to the right locations and getting recycling correctly very few things should go into landfills if you know what to do with it.”

You could say Perez is like the Steve jobs or Elon Musk of recycling. He started the company 30 years ago with just $1,000 and a few contracted trucks. He was a University of Houston student working out of his parent’s house in Katy. Now, he brings in over $100 million a year in revenue.

Perez has been described by the media as an immigrant that is set to change the world.

He says “changing the world to me is very important to me to leave a little bit of a better legacy for my children, my grandchildren. I’m so passionate about the environment and anything we can do to leave this word a better place, that’s what I want to do.”