CARBIDE SELLS RECYCLING OPERATIONS

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CHICAGO — Union Carbide Corp. on June 16 announced the sale of its recycling operations to Ecoplast Corp. of Los Angeles. Terms of the sale were not released. The deal did not include the Piscataway, N.J., recycling plant. Thirty-year-old Ecoplast operates plants in Los Angeles and Chino, Calif., and plans to expand them to accommodate its acquired products.

Union Carbide (Booth S2611) of Danbury, Conn., ceased recycling high density polyethylene in September. After selling its inventory, the firm searched for a buyer, Morris Francis, marketing manager for extrusion products, said in an interview at the company's booth.

``The recycling business never met profitability expectations for the organization,'' Francis added. ``We made the decision to get out of the business.''

The closure affected 50 employees who were reassigned or offered outplacement services.

Ecoplast officials were not available for comment. Included in the sale were Curbside Blend and Prisma-brand post-consumer HDPE as well as several patents and technology for food packaging resins that have received a letter of nonobjection from the Food and Drug Administration. Union Carbide was the first HDPE recycler to gain the FDA approval.

Earlier this year, Ecoplast became the second HDPE recycler to win an FDA nonobjection letter, for the material's use in packaging nonfatty foods. With the purchase of Union Carbide's assets, Ecoplast becomes the only HDPE recycler with the FDA letter. Union Carbide closed its plant before it produced materials for food-contact use. The sale to Ecoplast did not include any acquisition of debt or Union Carbide customer lists.

The Union Carbide plant, which opened in December 1991, had capacity to recycle 50 million pounds of HDPE per year.

``The facility was state-of-the-art,'' Francis said. ``We contributed significantly to the recycling industry in the U.S. and our products were high-quality, both homopolymer and copolymer. It was good learning. I hope Ecoplast will continue what we developed.''

Ecoplast is a distributor and compounder of virgin off-spec and recycled resins and can blend the recycled resins with virgin HDPE. It is focusing on selling its 100 percent recycled product.