Author:Luckow, Kaitlyn

Reusing materials is a practice that not only helps the environment, but can help save companies money every year. However, companies usually overlook their own waste and consider it useless. Little do they know, it can be extremely profitable.

RICKY PEREZ is the CEO of Avangard Innovative, a company dedicated to helping companies find the green in their waste. Perez himself was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States when he was just eight. After completing his education, Perez started his own company when he was just 22-years-old.

Perez noticed in his previous work that no recycling was being done, specifically in the bottle businesses. All the bottles ended up in landfills. "All the bottle owners wanted to figure out if there was a solution, if there was a better way," Perez said.

Perez wanted to find that better way and so Avangard was born with the use of a phone and a fax in Perez' parent's house in Texas. Although initially starting in Mexico exporting Coke, Pepsi, and water bottles, Avangard has now been in existence for thirty years, is in 13 different countries, and employs over 650 people. Instead of just focusing on bottles, Avangard handles every kind of sustainable development program. The focus of Avangard is to lower waste costs and to increase recyclables for companies. Avangard helps companies recognize that their waste can become assets. This can not only have a positive impact on a company's spending, but on the environment as well.

"Whatever the industry, wherever there's waste generated in packaging, which is pretty much everywhere, this is where we can go in and make a huge impact environmentally, socially, and economically," Perez said.

Perez and Avangard are focused on reusing resources to create a circular economy and are doing just that in 13 countries around the world. The road of being an entrepreneur for Perez was one filled with a plan, support, and a team. "I would tell you it's extremely difficult. But the beauty of this journey has been the people," Perez said.

A source of support for Perez throughout the development of Avangard has been Comerica Bank. Perez said that...

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