EcoPrime success drives Envision expansion

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 23, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Materials, Recycling, Suppliers

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

Brown signs California's plastic bag ban into law

September 30, 2014 1:38 pm ET

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) made it official today: plastic bags are banned across the entire state of California.    More

Image

New Hexcel plant will supply carbon fiber for Airbus A350 XWB

September 30, 2014 2:43 pm ET

Hexcel Corp. is investing $250 million on a new carbon fiber plant in France, with part of the production going into the future Airbus SAS A350 XWB.    More

Image

Welding equipment supplier Forward completes expansion

September 30, 2014 4:08 pm ET

Plastic welding equipment producer Forward Technology completed an expansion it predicts will help customers become more efficient and cut costs.    More

Image

Extreme Tool uses remote Michigan location to attract younger workers

September 30, 2014 3:47 pm ET

“I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being an old guy like me. But I do believe in the power of youth and reinvesting in training. The...    More

Image

LyondellBasell CEO Gallogly to retire

September 30, 2014 3:00 pm ET

James Gallogly, CEO of Houston-based polyolefins producer LyondellBasell Industries NV, on Sept. 29 announced plans to retire in 2015.    More

Market Reports

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 industry analysis highlights macro industry trends and micro trends faced by companies that do business in Mexico. The report also provides key industry statistics and forecasts to anticipate future industry expansion.

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

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

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