EcoPrime success drives Envision expansion

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 23, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers, Sustainability, Recycling

TAMPA, FLA. (Feb. 23, 2:15 p.m. ET) — Success with its EcoPrime line of recycled high density polyethylene will allow Envision Plastics to install its second production line in Chino, Calif., by the end of the year.

But plenty of challenges remain for Envision and other recyclers, vice president Tamsin Ettefagh said at the 2012 Plastics News Executive Forum, held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Tampa.

EcoPrime is the industry’s only post-consumer HDPE that’s been approved for food-contact use by the Food & Drug Administration. It’s used in bottles for food and beverage, personal-care and household applications. Well-known consumer products makers using EcoPrime include Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Prestone and L’Oreal.

“The sign of a good quality recycler is who they sell to,” Ettefagh said. “We’re the only plastic recycler with a national procurement and supply scope.”

Envision currently operates 24 million pounds of EcoPrime in Reidsville, N.C., where the 11-year-old firm is based. Producing that capacity uses 91.6 percent less energy than making the same amount of virgin HDPE would, according to Ettefagh. EcoPrime production also reduces carbon dioxide equivalents, carbon emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and gasoline use.

Challenges facing recyclers include the lack of a clear public policy on post-consumer material, and a business model in which customers make their buying decisions on a month-to-month basis, with no long-term contracts that would allow recyclers to forecast demand.

The ups and downs of the recycling market also often make it difficult for recyclers to borrow money from banks, who prefer more predictable customers.

But at the same time, corporate mandates are driving demand for recycled material. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is requiring its suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging they use by 2013, creating an opportunity for recycled material.

The amount of HDPE recycled in the U.S. also has grown from about 15 percent in 1993 to its current total of almost 30 percent, although Ettefagh said that number is slightly skewed by a recent decrease in overall HDPE production.

And increased demand for recycled HDPE actually made North American prices for the material increase during 2011, even as prices for prime HDPE fell slightly.

Ettefagh also clarified the sometimes misunderstood relationship between prime and recycled HDPE. “Prime is not the competition,” she said. “Without prime, we wouldn’t exist.”

The market also could benefit if resin makers agree to place markers in their material that would allow for easier separation. That would be a boon for Envision’s Prisma-brand resins, which are colored post-consumer HDPE resins sorted by Envision’s proprietary color-sorting process. Prisma materials can reduce customers’ needs for standard plastic colorants, Ettefagh said.


Comments

EcoPrime success drives Envision expansion

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 23, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Akro-Plastic buying German subsidiary from Metabolix

October 24, 2014 3:32 pm ET

Akro-Plastic GmbH, a Niederzissen, Germany-based plastic compounder, has purchased the assets of Metabolix Inc.'s subsidiary in Germany.    More

Image

Automation firms join forces, look to automotive for future growth

October 24, 2014 2:43 pm ET

Hoping to ease the way for automation in some specialized areas of automotive plastics like laser cutting of door panels, a German robot maker and an ...    More

Image

German export sales strong, push for energy savings continues

October 24, 2014 12:34 pm ET

Germany is the engine that drives the European economy — and when it comes to the plastics industry, German machinery is a potent force, an...    More

Image

Arburg expands presence in China

October 24, 2014 11:34 am ET

German machinery maker Arburg GmbH + Co KG has expanded its office in Shenzhen, China, making it the company's first competence center for automation ...    More

Image

BASF pre-tax earnings rise, but will miss financial targets for 2015

October 24, 2014 10:16 am ET

BASF SE has raised its expectations for pre-tax earnings in 2014 but warned that it would not hit its financial targets for next year.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events