Acquisition spree fuels growth of Cards Recycling


Since the beginning of 2023, with the backing of a New York private investment firm, Fayetteville-based Cards Recycling has been in hypergrowth mode. That is the best phrase to accurately describe what’s becoming one of the mid-South’s largest municipal, commercial and industrial solid waste collection companies.

Founder and CEO Dan Christensen says the business, headquartered on North Steele Boulevard, completed 12 acquisitions last year. This year, Cards strengthened existing markets with three acquisitions in Missouri and another in Texas. The company plans at least seven more acquisitions during the remainder of the year.

“It’s quite a growth story,” Christensen said.

Christensen is an Illinois native with more than two decades of experience in various roles in the solid waste sector, starting when he was 18. He founded Cards in late 2017 when he purchased an existing business in Litte Rock and renamed it Central Arkansas Recycling and Disposal Services. The company started by providing roll-off services for customers and operating a landfill and a construction and demolition (C&D) recycling facility.

“In 2017, our revenues were approximately $1.2 million,” he said.

After building the business, Christensen relocated his family to Northwest Arkansas and continued to acquire facilities. In March 2023, New York-based Kinderhook Industries, a private equity firm that manages over $5.4 billion of capital, acquired the business from Christensen in a deal described as a recapitalization. The company had about 57,000 residential, commercial and industrial waste customers and a network of post-collection facilities.

Today, Cards has approximately 200,000 customers and operates hauling companies, transfer stations, recycling centers, recovery facilities and landfills in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma.

“Within that customer base we have about 60 municipal contracts that we perform services for exclusively,” Christensen said. “That includes the city of Springdale. We started that Dec. 1 of 2023 and it’s been a successful implementation. We are very proud to partner with that city.”

With about 350 employees, including 60 corporate employees, Cards is well-equipped to meet the needs of its growing customer base. Christensen’s projection of a revenue run rate of nearly $90 million last year, increasing to $125 million in 2024, further underscores the company’s upward trajectory.

Christensen’s strategic vision includes an approximately $25 million investment on North Old Missouri Road in Springdale. A new transfer station facility has already been completed, demonstrating the company’s commitment to efficient waste management.

A top-of-the-line recycling facility, new corporate headquarters and truck maintenance and service facility will open later this year.

“The recycling facility will have the ability to process about 150 tons of materials per day,” Christensen said. “The region and state have never seen a facility of its caliber, so that’s extremely exciting.”



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