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New Hampshire recycler completes expansion

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July 24, 2013

Poly Recovery LLC has finished up a 15,000-square-foot expansion that involved annexing a building next door, adding more equipment and more than doubling the size of its staff.

The company plans to add additional sorting lines and increase its staff of 16 to 30 employees.

The recycler now has the capacity to reprocess about 68 million to 70 million pounds of various plastics a year, compared to 25 million to 30 million before, said CEO John Pelech, by phone.

The expansion is just in time for the Portsmouth, N.H., company. At any given time, Poly Recovery has more than 20 tractor-trailers filled with material sitting outside its facility waiting to be reprocessed, Pelech said.

The company also is on track to have its more profitable year yet and plans to essentially double the record sales of last year. By July 10, the company had sales equal to what it made in all of 2012, he said.

Pelech would not disclose financial details.

Pelech founded Poly Recovery in 2009. The company specializes in what they call “sustainable recycling.” The company partners with local companies and purchases their mixed industrial scrap — both paper and plastic. The plastic is analyzed, tested and reprocessed into resin, which Poly Recovery sells to manufacturers within 100 miles of Portsmouth to make new products.

“We’re the ultimate, not only in recycling but in sustainability, as far as waste options go,” he said.

The company is “breaking down the walls of conventional recycling,” making the process traceable and accountable, Pelech said.

Most scrap is either exported or “trucked all over the country,” he said. But companies, especially the larger ones, are demanding something more, he said.

Companies want to make sure their waste isn’t “getting washed in a river in India. They want to make sure a kid earning a dollar a day isn’t burning and sorting plastic by smell,” he said. Those companies are searching for a “triple bottom line” of sustainability — environmental, economic and social.

Poly Recovery was recently named the Business Recycler of the Year by the Northeast Resource Recovery Association, a non-profit trade organization with more than 400 members in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Southern Maine. The company was nominated by customers including Red Hook Brewery of Portsmouth.

Though this expansion is completed, Pelech has no plans to slow down. The company has some more room to expand at its current location, but after that would need to move to a campus facility. The company is also looking at expanding in different locations throughout the country.

“I’m going to roll this out throughout the U.S. and completely revolutionize recycling,” Pelech said.

If a Poly Recovery facility was located every 200 miles, there would be no need for landfills, he said.

The company is also planning to move into post-consumer waste. “We’ll be able to continue post-industrial but also be able to handle an amazing amount of post-consumer waste as well,” he said.

Pelech would not discuss details of the project, but said more information would be available later this year.

For now, the company’s current expansion comes with extra perks: a second ping pong table in its now full-sized game room. “It gets used quite frequently,” he joked.