Balcones Resources was founded in January 1994 in Austin, Texas. The company has grown from that single plant to become the largest privately held recycler in Texas.
Today, Balcones operates plants in Austin and Farmers Branch (Dallas), Texas, as well as in Little Rock, Arkansas. Its Austin material recovery facility (MRF) processes residential and commercial single-stream recyclables and a variety of high-grade fiber. The Dallas plant focuses on commercial fiber and plastics, operating a sorting line and also processing preconsumer UBCs. The Little Rock plant is dedicated to processing high-grade fiber.
Across the company’s plant network, Balcones operates Sierra balers exclusively. In Austin and Dallas, REB two-rams and Macpresse machines do the baling. Little Rock operates a Macpresse. “We simply believe Sierra offers the greatest value available in the industry today,” says Kerry Getter, Balcones CEO.
“Sierra has really taken the time to understand our business,” says Mike Melby, vice president of maintenance for Balcones. “Through site visits and other meetings, they have taken the time to understand what we do,” he says. “Should we need a part for Austin, they know immediately it’s a 24-hour-per-day operation and the part must be overnighted.”
“Sierra is in our business,” says Getter. “They understand the demands, and that’s made a difference in the machines they deliver and the unmatched support they offer.”
“The Sierra balers are highly engineered machines. They are robust and deliver phenomenal uptime reliability and production,” says Melby. “Our machines in Austin each have about 30,000 operating hours, and we’ve maybe had one week of collective downtime. They’re amazingly reliable day in and day out.”
Balcones’ Sierra machines also deliver the production the company requires. “We’re able to cube out our outbound trucks and rail cars with maximum weights on a consistent basis,” says Melby. “The Sierra balers deliver the production we require day-in and day-out. Great bale weights and continuous production make us happy.”
“We’re investing in a considerable plant upgrade in Austin. Part of that investment is a new Sierra REB-4,” says Getter. “That baler will provide enhanced production, which we need, but it will also slide into our existing system—a huge benefit. We’ve found that the uniformity of the Sierra machines is a tremendous advantage. Operator training is easier, and the uniformity of spare parts is great.
“With the diverse material streams Balcones handles, we require two-ram and single-ram balers in our operations,” Getter continues. “Being able to invest with the same company to get both machine types is a real advantage, and it’s unique to Sierra. We need the reliability and production Sierra machines deliver, but we also appreciate the support and other efficiencies they deliver for our operations.”