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RICHMOND, CALIF. — Durable plastics recycler MBA Polymers Inc. recently moved from its Berkeley, Calif., plant to a facility in Richmond.

The move quintupled the company's size. The new, rented 50,000-square-foot plant houses the recycling facility as well as offices and laboratories.

The 3-year-old firm recycles computer housings, automotive parts and sports equipment it receives from other companies, said President Mike Biddle.

Using a combination of proprietary and nonproprietary techniques, MBA can determine a product's composition and separate out the plastic.

According to the firm, the method is more cost-effective than disassembling and sorting the items by hand. After grinding the plastic, MBA gives it back to the original company or finds a market for it.

``It is our hope that [the regrind] will be used to make a similar product,'' Biddle said.

MBA has worked with Chrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Traditionally a research and development company, MBA opened its Berkeley plant with the help of the Washington-based American Plastics Council. Some of the sorting equipment had been used in other industries, such as agriculture, food processing and mining, and then converted to separate plastic.

The firm moved in December because it needed more space to scale up operations, and the lease for the 10,000-square-foot plant in Berkeley was expiring.