Press Releases

2021 ESOP Company of the Year Announced

ESOP Company of the Year

Washington, DC, June 21, 2021 - Recology, a resource recovery ESOP company based in San Francisco, CA, has won The ESOP Association’s highest corporate honor—the ESOP Company of the Year Award. The award honors a company that actively participates in the employee ownership community and that demonstrates a dedication to The ESOP Association’s vision of employee participation, wealth creation, and individual dignity and worth.

Recology provides extensive residential and commercial collection, recycling, disposal, and composting programs in California, Washington and Oregon.  Recology finds new ways to process into new products and reuse what was once considered waste. Recology is the 37th largest 100% employee-owned company in the US with more than 3,700 employee owners. It is also one of the oldest ESOP companies in the country and traces its roots back over 100 years.

The Recology ESOP is widely distributed among a diverse set of employees, including more than 93% of the shares owned by non-management individuals. Through the ESOP model, many of its retirees have been able to invest in themselves and their community, living comfortably in large part due to their supplemental ESOP retirement plan distributions. In 2020, the Recology ESOP distributed benefits to over 860 participants.

James Bonham, President and CEO of The ESOP Association, said “Recology has long been advancing the principles of employee ownership, and those communities in which it operates have long been the beneficiaries.  Every employee owner at Recology should be rightfully proud of this well-deserved honor.” 

Recology’s continued success as an ESOP company has allowed it to grow from serving a couple of dozen communities in the state of California in 1986, when its ESOP started, to 150 communities across California, Washington, and Oregon today.


About the Award 
The ESOP Company of the Year Award honors a corporate member of The ESOP Association that demonstrates a steadfast commitment to employee ownership through its participation in Association programs, its efforts to communicate with employees, and its dedication to realizing The Association’s vision of employee participation, wealth creation, and individual dignity and worth.  In 2021, five nominated companies were finalists, with nominations reviewed by the Executive Committee of TEA’s State and Regional Chapter Council.  The award was announced at TEA’s National Conference, held in Washington, DC from June 21-23.

About The ESOP Association
The ESOP Association is the largest organization in the world supporting employee-owned companies, the more than 10 million U.S. employees who participate in an ESOP, and the professionals who provide services to them. Headquartered at the International Employee Ownership Center in Washington, DC and operating as a 501(c)6 organization with the affiliated Employee Ownership Foundation, The ESOP Association conducts and funds academic research, provides more than 160 annual conferences and events attended by nearly 15,000 individuals, and advocates on behalf of employee owners and their businesses to federal and state lawmakers. You can learn more at

About Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
ESOPs are a retirement plan that provides employees with a chance to share in the profits they help create. Unlike 401(k)s, ESOPs typically have no out-of-pocket expense for employees. ESOP companies often excel at creating engaging workplace cultures and are far less likely to lay off their employees, according to national research. These plans can provide tax benefits for the business and the owners who sell their shares to an ESOP. 


For more information on ESOPs, TEA or the award, please contact Paul Pflieger at The ESOP Association at 202-494-2220 or