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stellaenv.com

Founded Year

2010

Stage

Acq - Fin - II | Alive

About Stella Environmental Services

Stella Environmental Services provides outsourced transfer station management services, including the loading and transportation of waste from in-town processing facilities to remote landfills, to integrated waste companies and to municipalities.

Stella Environmental Services Headquarter Location

15423 Vantage Parkway E.

Houston, Texas, 77032,

United States

281-484-5647

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Latest Stella Environmental Services News

Leonard Green acquires Stella Environmental from Hidden Harbor

Apr 28, 2021

Leonard Green acquires Stella Environmental from Hidden Harbor Stella is a provider of outsourced transfer station management services to the municipal solid waste industry. Hidden Harbor Capital Partners , Boca Raton, Florida, has announced the completed sale of Houston-based Stella Environmental Services , a leading provider of fully outsourced transfer station management services to the municipal solid waste industry, to affiliates of Leonard Green & Partners L.P. (LGP) , Los Angeles, on April 22. With over 65 transfer stations across nine states, processing more than seven million annual tons per year, Stella offers a full-service, asset-light model that differentiates the company from competitors and allows it to deliver superior solutions for customers. Stella’s key services include managing fully outsources operations and waste loading at transfer stations, coordinating waste hauling from transfer stations to landfills, and providing on-site landfill services. Customers served include integrated waste companies and municipalities. Hidden Harbor acquired Stella in 2017 as a carve-out from Birmingham, Alabama-based Action Resources , and in partnership with the Stella team, made substantial investments to build a highly scalable organization and develop a best-in-class platform within the transfer station management industry. Over Hidden Harbor’s ownership period, Stella completed six add-on acquisitions and drove significant organic growth. Piper Sandler & Co. , Minneapolis, and Raymond James , St. Petersburg, Florida, acted as financial advisors, and McDermott Will & Emery , Chicago, acted as legal advisor to Stella and Hidden Harbor in connection with the sale. LGP’s legal advisor was Lathan & Watkins , New York, and financial advisor was Houlihan Lokey , Los Angeles. Ares , Los Angeles, provided financing for the transaction. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Amp Robotics Corp., Denver, has introduced Amp Clarity, artificial intelligence- (AI-) powered material characterization software that enables the recognition and classification of recyclables as they flow through the different recovery stages of the recycling process. The company says the technology provides “measurable transparency on the recyclables captured and missed during different recycling processes, as well as confirming the composition of recovered material bales destined for resale to end markets in the supply chain.” “Data transparency in the recycling industry has been a longstanding challenge due to the complexity of mixed material streams, compounded by ongoing changes in consumer packaging,” says Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of Amp. “These obstacles often create impediments to accurate data collection and prevent a clear understanding of what goes into and comes out of the different infrastructure stages that support recycling.” He continues, “Our material characterization software digitizes the real-time flow of recyclables with precision and consistency, providing opportunities to identify gaps in material capture, transparency on what recyclables are and are not recycled and a basis for standardized measurement vital to improve our national recycling system.” Amp Clarity captures data on plastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS); aluminum recyclables such as used beverage cans (UBCs); and fiber, such as corrugated cardboard (OCC) and sorted residential paper and newsprint (SRPN). Data are collected, classified and subclassified so material recovery facilities (MRFs) can see what recyclables are flowing through different stages of their operations. Amp says this monitoring can help prevent the loss of recyclables to landfill, diagnose gaps in processing efficiency, audit the composition of material streams and create certainty about final bale content and material quality for buyers and sellers. “Over the last year, our team has worked hard on product development, testing and delivery of Amp Clarity,” Jeff Loebbaka, chief commercial officer of Amp Robotics, says. “We partnered with an initial group of our customers to beta test our solution in the field, and the response was very positive.” Loebbaka says Amp customers see Clarity as a means to prevent the loss of valuable material to landfill and to improve operational performance. “Higher capture rates result in increased revenue, reduced disposal costs and efficiency gains that further lower operational expenses,” he says. “Our customers are also using Clarity’s material characterization capabilities to establish confidence in the final material quality of their bales sold to plastics reclaimers, paper mills and aluminum manufacturers. Based on feedback we’ve received, Clarity can play a critical role in bridging industry standards for bale certification.” Amp Clarity is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution available via an online web portal that can be accessed through desktop, laptop and mobile devices, the company says. Clarity is made possible through Amp’s portfolio of hardware systems, including the Amp Cortex robotic sorting system and the company’s Amp Vision system, a standalone modular enclosure that can be dropped into a facility’s existing operation for specific data collection from residual, quality control, container, paper and audit lines. Amp says Clarity can serve as a QC application for other processing equipment, such as optical sorters or eddy currents, to identify recyclables that may have missed for capture later in the operation. Clarity also can be placed before the final material quality processing stage to identify contaminants before plastics, aluminum or paper are baled for resale. “The integration of Amp Vision and Amp Clarity provides opportunities for consumer packaged goods companies, retailers and packaging manufacturers to understand the flow and recovery of their specific containers and packaging,” says Chris Wirth, vice president of business development and government affairs, Amp Robotics. “Our technology can help producer initiatives to increase recycling rates and create new value streams for recyclables.” Wirth adds that the technology also could create “a mechanism to support federal, state and local government programs focused on landfill diversion goals and recycled-content standards to advance a more circular economy.” Earlier this month, PET reclaimer Evergreen said it has deployed Amp’s AI-guided robots at its Clyde, Ohio, plant. Amp says the installation marked its continued expansion of its technology with plastics reclaimers and that its technology identifies and sorts green and clear PET from postconsumer bales of plastic soft drink bottles, which Evergreen recycles into flakes or pellets and sells to end markets as feedstock for new containers and packaging. The company also introduced automated secondary sorting facilities , which apply advanced automation enabled by AI to sort through low volumes of residue to recover plastics, UBCs and OCC. The waste and recycling industry has acknowledged for several years what national statistics have borne out: the occurrence of serious injury and fatality (SIF) accidents in the sector is out of proportion to its size. Kristen Bell, a partner with Ojai, California-based  Krause Bell Group , says companies like hers and the industry overall may not enjoy complete consensus on how to address the issue. She comments, however, “What we’ve learned through research is that if you want to prevent fatalities—and that’s usually the first goal—that requires a special focus on situations that lead to fatalities and life-altering incidents.” Words and deeds As the waste and recycling industry has produced materials and messaging to address workplace safety issues, the word “culture” has been applied generously to the list of factors that can create the needed improvements. Bell says establishing a strong safety culture is a process that includes everyone—executives, site managers, employees and even customers and vendors. “What’s not well understood is how each person connects to reducing risk in their organization or creating that culture. That can be difficult for people to understand,” she says. The industrywide attention to safety has, fortunately, led to more frequent meetings devoted to the topic, says Bell. However, if employees at a facility “have a safety chat in the morning” and that is followed the rest of the day by talk of adhering to schedules and “how quickly can we get this material processed,” that second message is the one that employees will internalize, she says. “There is a role for every single person in the organization to create a safe workplace,” says Bell. “Everyone is connected to it, even people outside the company.” That being said, executives may be in a position to influence safety in ways they do not always consider, Bell acknowledges. Bell offers as an example hiring for an operations or facility management position and not asking about the candidate’s safety qualifications or intentions to emphasize safety. “One of the most important decisions an executive or manager can make relative to safety is who they hire—it’s crucial,” says Bell, who indicates Krause Bell has performed pro bono work for ISRI pertaining to its Circle of Safety Excellence program, which recognizes member companies for outstanding commitment to the safety of their employees. The company that hires a manager who is an excellent safety leader is likely also to be happy with that person’s leadership in general, according to research conducted by Krause Bell. It doesn’t always work the other way around, however. “The same type of employee who feels safe and supported by his or her leaders also coincides with the type who will put his or her best effort forward, and the business will thrive,” says Bell. She adds, “That’s important. Being reassured that the effort that goes into safety improvement will benefit the business in general is a big deal. [That happens] through culture.” The profit motive is far from the only one, however, that will cause employees to pay close attention to avoiding SIF accidents. A clear motive Awards and other forms of recognition often are part of corporate and organization safety programs, and some choose to reinforce or incentivize this with a financial reward. When it comes to the recognition aspect, Bell says her company indeed views it as helpful to recognize good safety practices and track records, “especially when people go out of their way to do the right thing.” As far as financial incentives, Bell says, “They are very, very tricky.” She continues, “You could easily incentivize the wrong behavior, and you shouldn’t have to pay people or bribe people to work safely.” A case of the (Safety) Mondays The Arlington, Virginia-based National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) has been sending out “Safety Monday” emails to its members in a program organized by the NWRA Safety Committee and sponsored in part by Houston-based  Waste Management Inc. A recent version of the email highlighted the side effects of the recent “spring forward” time change. The missive claimed that traffic accidents increase on the first Monday after the switch to daylight saving time. The increase in accidents can possibly be linked to the loss of sleep drivers experience. Another recent Safety Monday message highlights the importance of good housekeeping, noting the importance of clean floors and uncluttered work areas in aspects including fire prevention, slip-and-fall accidents and pest control. Similarly, the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) sends out EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) Update emails every Monday. Information in that product may address topics ranging from avoiding heatstroke to safely maintaining mobile equipment to guarding against the COVID-19 virus. While the COVID-19 pandemic created a new set of health and safety considerations for ISRI members, the organization has continued to issue reminders about behavior that can lead to more traditional workplace serious injury and fatality (SIF) incidents. Late in 2020, ISRI reminded commercial vehicle drivers in the scrap and recycling industry that “truck drivers not wearing their seatbelts put themselves and others at risk. If a driver is involved in a crash and the driver is not wearing a seatbelt, he could be thrown out of the driver’s seat and away from the controls essential to preventing catastrophic damage.” Rather, Bell says of employees at all levels, “We’re already motivated to protect ourselves and each other. We want to protect people and keep them from being injured. If nothing else, we’re going to keep people whole and alive and not having a life-altering injury.” With that motivation being essentially intrinsic, Bell says her firm’s experience is that incentives such as gift cards or raffle contents are “not really necessary and can be harmful.” Budgets and attention may be better off focused on consistent messaging that builds a safety culture from top to bottom. “Every minute of every day is sending a message about safety,” says Bell. “We want to develop great awareness of the impact of our messages on people, and how they’re hearing [these messages].” For executives and managers, “It means we’re creating culture every time we’re interacting with someone,” Bell continues. “It’s kind of daunting as a leader. The implication is we have immense power, and we may not realize how we’re affecting people.” Communication within an organization on safety or any other topic is not a one-way street. While company leaders can endorse a safety message, they cannot create a culture alone. Feedback loop In the waste and recycling sector, associations including NWRA, SWANA and ISRI all produce and distribute materials made available to member companies and organizations. Posting and distributing such materials, however, may only be a half measure. “Our experience is [employers] are sending plenty of that material out, but there needs to be more listening,” states Bell. Her advice to executives and facility operators is to be more in tune with what the company’s workforce is communicating: “Focus more on what you’re hearing from other people; focus on getting messages percolating up from your workforce. It will help improve your safety and your culture.” The importance of listening extends to daily or weekly safety meetings, says Bell. “You want to have a safety meeting that is a conversation. Ideally, you won’t be waiting until the end for questions. You’d be formatting it as a dialogue.” Most Krause Bell clients are holding such meetings “every single day and before every big task,” says Bell. Managers who are seeking out and hearing safety concerns may be more likely to keep the topic in mind during their own workday. The attention to safety may then more easily extend beyond a facility’s workforce and to regular facility visitors. Says Bell, “Every interaction you have with a delivery driver or a customer is an opportunity to influence them. What do they see at the gate? What do they hear from the person at the [scale house] booth? For a vendor, it can be what is in the contract [that they pay attention to]. Every interaction is a chance to influence.” Underlying the cultural aspects, Bell says companies need to be keenly aware of just where the SIF risks lie. “A really great place to start is with senior leaders asking the question: How much exposure to SIFs do we have?” This can be especially crucial when looking from the vantage point of employees “who are just starting out,” says Bell. “On our website, visitors can download a book chapter on that topic.” Despite efforts to make workplace safety a focus in recent years, national workplace SIF statistics have too often demonstrated the waste and recycling sectors remain a dangerous place to work. Pointing to the oil and gas industry as one example, Bell adds, “The good news is, other industries have paved the way toward better safety; we can apply what we’ve learned.” This article originally appeared in the April issue of Waste Today. The author is a senior editor with the Recycling Today Media Group and can be contacted at btaylor@gie.net. Waste Management Inc.  (WM), Houston, announced financial results for the first quarter of 2021 April 27. “We had an exceptionally strong start to the year with first-quarter adjusted operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) growth of more than 14 percent and adjusted operating EBITDA margin expansion of 100 basis points,” Jim Fish, WM president and CEO, says. “We achieved these results by generating strong yield, flexing down our cost structure, and executing on the integration of Advanced Disposal. With this solid performance and our confidence in the strength of our business model, we are increasing our 2021 financial guidance that we provided in February for revenue, adjusted operating EBITDA and free cash flow. “In addition to the strong performance of our core business, the integration of Advanced Disposal is going remarkably well. Based upon the success of the integration efforts so far, we believe we will capture synergies above our original expectations. We now expect to achieve $130 million in annual run-rate synergies from operating costs and SG&A savings, which is a more than 60 percent increase from our initial estimates. The revised estimate includes between $75 million and $85 million in run-rate synergies captured during 2021, up from our prior guidance of between $50 million and $60 million.” Highlights from Waste Management’s first-quarter earnings include: Revenue In the first quarter, revenue declined $5 million in the company’s collection and disposal business, when excluding the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, compared with the first quarter of 2020. This was driven by $98 million in volume declines partially offset by $93 million of growth from yield. Core price for the first quarter was 3.4 percent compared with 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2020. Collection and disposal yield was 2.8 percent in the first quarter compared to 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 and 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2020. Total company volumes declined 2.7 percent in the first quarter, or 2.1 percent on a workday adjusted basis, compared with a decline of 2.6 percent on a workday adjusted basis in the fourth quarter of 2020 and a decline of 0.4 percent on a workday adjusted basis in the first quarter of 2020. In the first quarter, acquisitions and net of divestitures added $292 million of revenue primarily from the acquisition of Advanced Disposal. Cost management Operating expenses as a percentage of revenue improved 130 basis points to 61.1 percent when compared with the first quarter of 2020, demonstrating the company’s ability to operate under a lower cost structure. SG&A expenses were 11.1 percent of revenue in the first quarter compared with 11.4 percent in the first quarter of 2020. On an adjusted basis, SG&A expenses were 10.7 percent of revenue in the first quarter compared to 10.5 percent in the first quarter of 2020. Profitability Operating EBITDA in the company’s collection and disposal business, adjusted on the same basis as total company operating EBITDA, was $1.29 billion, or 31.8 percent of revenue, for the first quarter compared with$1.18 billion, or 31.3 percent of revenue, for the first quarter of 2020. Operating EBITDA in WM's recycling line of business improved by $34 million compared with the first quarter of 2020. The improvement was driven by the company’s efforts to develop a sustainable business model that also meets customers’ environmental needs as well as an increase in market prices for recycled commodities, WM says. In the first quarter, WM realized $12 million of operating and SG&A cost synergies from the acquisition of Advanced Disposal. Free cash flow and capital allocation In the first quarter, net cash provided by operating activities was $1.12 billion compared with $765 million in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of $355 million. The improvement in net cash provided by operating activities was primarily driven by the increase in operating EBITDA, lower incentive compensation payments and improvements in working capital. In the first quarter, capital expenditures were $270 million compared with $459 million in the first quarter of 2020. The decrease in capital spending was primarily driven by differences in the timing of fleet purchases and the company’s acceleration of certain capital expenditures into the fourth quarter of 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, free cash flow was $865 million compared with $318 million in the first quarter of 2020. During the first quarter of 2021, $497 million was returned to shareholders, including $247 million of cash dividends and $250 million allocated to share repurchases. Outlook Total company revenue growth is expected to range from 12.5 percent to 13 percent. Combined internal revenue growth from yield and volume in the collection and disposal business is expected to be 4.5 percent or greater, driven by WM's disciplined pricing programs and strong outlook for continued volume recovery, it says. Adjusted operating EBITDA is expected to be between $4.875 billion and $4.975 billion in 2021. Free cash flow is projected to be between $2.325 billion and $2.425 billion in 2021. Synergies from the acquisition of Advanced Disposal are expected to total $150 million, with $130 million coming from operating costs and SG&A savings and $20 million coming from capital expenditure savings. This is an increase from the company’s original expectation of $80 million in operating costs and SG&A savings and $20 million in capital expenditure savings. In 2021, the company expects to capture between $75 million and $85 million of cost synergies, bringing annual run-rate synergies to about $100 million at the end of the year. Fish concludes, “We’ve previously discussed that Waste Management is well-positioned to benefit as states and provinces emerge from the pandemic. We expect strong results as our commercial, industrial and landfill businesses—our three most profitable lines of business—continue to recover over the remainder of the year.” Republic opens organics pre-processing facility in Northern California The facility is designed to remove contamination from food waste, which will be converted into renewable energy though a public-private partnership. Republic Services , Phoenix, has opened its first Northern California organics pre-processing facility, which the company says will help Bay Area communities meet the requirements of a new state law mandating diversion of food and yard waste from landfills. The facility is designed to remove contamination from food waste collected from businesses in Contra Costa County and will produce clean organic material that is converted into renewable energy through a partnership with the East Bay Municipal Utility District. "As a leader in the environmental services industry, Republic Services is committed to recovering key materials from the waste stream and providing diversion solutions for our customers," said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability. "Organics is an emerging sector, especially in California, providing tremendous potential for us to both grow our business and strengthen the circular economy." A state law (SB 1383) that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022, will require every home and business in California to recycle their food and yard waste. More than 500 business customers participate in food waste recycling through the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority's RecycleSmart program , which delivers food waste to Republic's Martinez facility. The new facility is capable of processing 20 tons of food waste per hour. It is Republic’s second organics pre-processing operation in the state, following the opening of the company’s first facility in Anaheim in 2018. Republic is also pursuing additional similar opportunities throughout the state. "Republic Services has been a service provider for RecycleSmart for over 20 years, and they have always been innovative in their approach to recycling," said Ken Etherington, executive director of RecycleSmart. "We are very excited about Republic's new pre-processing line to advance recycling in the community." After pre-processing, clean organic material is delivered to the East Bay Municipal Utility District's wastewater treatment facility in Oakland. Through anaerobic digestion, the organic waste is converted into biogas, which is used to generate electricity to power the treatment facility as well as operations at the neighboring Port of Oakland. "This pre-processing model is anticipated to expand opportunities for EBMUD to receive more of this type of material and increase renewable energy production in the future," said John Hake, a senior civil engineer at the East Bay Municipal Utility District. In 2020, Republic Services was named Organics Recycler of the Year by the National Waste & Recycling Association, a recognition of the company's innovation and leadership in diverting food and yard waste from landfills. According to the company, organics recycling directly supports Republic's sustainability goal to increase recovery of key materials from the waste stream by 40 percent by 2030.

  • When was Stella Environmental Services founded?

    Stella Environmental Services was founded in 2010.

  • Where is Stella Environmental Services's headquarters?

    Stella Environmental Services's headquarters is located at 15423 Vantage Parkway E., Houston.

  • What is Stella Environmental Services's latest funding round?

    Stella Environmental Services's latest funding round is Acq - Fin - II.

  • Who are the investors of Stella Environmental Services?

    Investors of Stella Environmental Services include Leonard Green & Partners and Hidden Harbor Capital Partners.

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