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

Vinyl siding's lead slips, but industry pushing back

July 29, 2014 2:04 pm ET

Vinyl siding continues to be the top cladding choice for home builders and remodelers but fiber cement is gaining ground — at an alarming rate...    More

Unipex Group buys Ferguson Chemical Innovation

July 29, 2014 1:57 pm ET

Chemical distributor Unipex Group Inc. announced July 29 that it had purchased Ferguson Chemical Innovation, a Brampton, Ontario-based supplier of...    More

Image

Carbon black supplier Orion begins trading on NYSE

July 29, 2014 11:29 am ET

Orion Engineered Carbons S.a.r.l. has priced the initial public offering of 19.5 million common shares at a price to the public of $18 per share.    More

Image

Dow sees solid second quarter performance

July 29, 2014 11:19 am ET

Dow Chemical Co. has reported its second quarter figures, with its seventh consecutive quarter of growth, according to the company.More

Image

Evonik sells polyimide foams operation to Boyd

July 29, 2014 10:46 am ET

Modesto, Calif.-based Boyd Corp., a manufacturers of specialty material and sealing agents, has purchased Evonik Industries’ Solimid...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

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

More Events