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Poly Recovery LLC goes Dumpster diving

By: Frank Antosiewicz

January 14, 2013

For Poly Recovery LLC, convincing companies like Redhook Brewery to turn trash to cash sometimes takes only a quick tour of the Dumpster.

That’s what Poly Recovery general manager Mike Mooney and CEO John Pelech wanted to do when they visited with Joe Thorner, general manager of Redhook’s Portsmouth, N.H., brewery.

“We saw what they were putting in the dumpsters and basically what we said is: ‘What we can do is provide the same service, pick up on a weekly basis and cut the unit cost to nothing,’ “ Mooney said.

In the trash, they found PET green strapping used on pallets, low density polyethylene keg caps, and paper and plastic grain bags. There was also cardboard and foil lining from boxes of hops.

Reducing waste at Redhook also resulted in an added bonus.

“They came out with all the things that could be recycled and said that they would pick it up once a week and even pay us,” Thorner said.

Thorner said Portsmouth-based Poly Recycling now is recycling more than 10,000 pounds of Redhook’s waste material a month. In the first six months, Redhook recycled 63,143 pounds.

“We have teams that separate everything so that they can create specific recycling streams,” Thorner said.

As a result, the brewery — which is owned by Portland, Ore.-based Craft Brewers Alliance Inc. — is saving $2,910 a month on dumpster rental fees and no longer needs a compacter.

About 90 percent of the company’s waste is now reused, and employees have become more diligent about recycling. Redhook also composts its leftover food, and now works with Green Alliance, a partnership of local businesses focused on sustainability.

While both the recycler and brewer are located in Portsmouth, their effort spreads over a wider area. Poly Recovery takes the waste from Redhook and converts it to resin that is then shipped to local manufacturers.

One customer is Foss Manufacturing Co. LLC of Hampden, N.H., which uses the recycled material to make fibers that are used in shoe parts, blankets and carpeting.

Pelech started Poly Recovery six years ago. He developed a patented process to separate plastics and paper from pulp.

The company now has 16 employees and operates out of a 30,000-square-foot facility.

“Our industries are not just medical or breweries, but all types of wastes. We’re looking at every single store so they don’t fall into the dumpster,” Mooney said.