Durable goods recycler MBA Polymers expanding in US, relocating R&D

Published: July 12, 2013 2:41 pm ET
Updated: July 15, 2013 2:26 pm ET

Image By: MBA Polymers Mike Biddle, president of global plastics recycler MBA Polymers Inc.

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Materials, Recycling, Materials Suppliers

MBA Polymers Inc. plans to expand operations in the U.S. while moving R&D to the United Kingdom.

The recycler is closing its R&D facility in Richmond, Calif., because the plant is too small and the lease is up, said President Mike Biddle.

The pilot-scale, 43,000-square-foot plant was MBA's first facility and serves as the company's headquarters.

MBA is making the move because Europe does more recycling than the United States and offers more opportunities, at least in the short-term, Biddle said in a July 2 webinar on China's "Green Fence" operation.

MBA already has a 126,000-square-foot plant in Worksop, England.

According to MBA, the Worksop plant is the "largest and most advanced plastics recycling plant in the world" that focuses on recovering plastics and rubber from shredder residue. It has processing capacity of 132 million to 176 million pounds per year.

Despite closing the Richmond plant, the company, which specializes in recycling durable goods from difficult waste streams like electronics and auto-shredder residue, is planning to make a big move in the U.S. market.

MBA plans to build full processing plants in the U.S. once it develops sufficient U.S. sourcing.

Biddle said the move is in response to recent developments in the U.S. and abroad, namely:

  •  In April, the Environmental Protection Agency gave a green light to mining plastics from the more than 10 billion pounds of auto shredder residue generated annually in the U.S. That translates to about 1.5 billion to 2 billion pounds of plastic.
  •  Electronics recycling is also continuing to grow in the U.S., despite a lack of legislation like that in Europe, which requires electronics to be recycled, he said.
  •  EPA estimates more than 65 billion pounds of plastics are discarded in municipal solid waste streams (MSW). And single-stream municipal recycling programs and mixed recycling is growing dramatically in the U.S., he said.

"There's a huge opportunity of extracting more plastics in MSW," Biddle said, adding that the plastics recycling rate is estimated to be about 8 percent.

Meanwhile, in China, higher environmental standards are here to stay as the country gets serious about pollution.

"I applaud that," he said "I think it has to happen."

MBA has a facility in Guangzhou, China, to recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment. The costs of operating that plant have gone up for a variety of reasons, including the higher cost of importing material and policy changes.

In response, Biddle said MBA is encouraging its customers to upgrade their materials before shipping.

Recycling mixed-waste streams is at least a two-stage process. Stage one processing may or may not get material to the point where it meets Green Fence requirements.

Stage two processing creates a plastics concentrate that's over 95 percent plastics with very little extra material in it. That material can travel farther, travel economically, meet Green Fence requirements and has a higher value, though it does take extra processing, he explained, in response to an audience question.

Once there's enough volume of that material, processors like MBA will invest in the capacity to bring that material through the final stages of recycling — separating, pelletizing, compounding and so on, he said.


Comments

Durable goods recycler MBA Polymers expanding in US, relocating R&D

Published: July 12, 2013 2:41 pm ET
Updated: July 15, 2013 2:26 pm 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