Command Packaging setting up recycling plant

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: August 14, 2013 4:46 pm ET
Updated: August 14, 2013 5:28 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Sustainability, Film & Sheet, Recycling, Extrusion, Grocery bags

Peter Grande has a vision to match his name and it involves diverting millions of pounds of agricultural plastics away from landfills.

The CEO of Command Packaging in Vernon, Calif., is moving forward with plans to create a polyethylene recycling operation that will capture farm waste to create reusable grocery shopping bags.

And in the process, he sees the probability of hiring 500 people to close the loop between California’s farmers and California’s shoppers.

Command Packaging’s Encore Recycling unit expects to begin processing the used agricultural plastics in Salinas, Calif., in October to create the heavy duty shopping bags that are designed to be used over and over again.

Made from recycled agricultural film and drip tubing, these are not your father’s grocery bags.

At 2.25 mils thick, the bags will be able to carry up to 22 pounds and designed to be used up to 125 times during their useful life.

Grande is developing the project after seeing environmentalists and industry argue for years about the plastic bag issue without really coming up with a solution, he said.

“The discussion of whether we need or want plastics is a moot point. We all need plastics. We all love plastic. We want plastic. What we need to be talking about is how do we get smarter plastic? And that’s what we’re all about. We’re going to show the U.S. market that it’s not about plastic. It’s about how do we get smarter plastic,” he said.

Encore Recycling will use proprietary methods to sort, wash and pelletize the used polyethylene collected from farms in the state.

Estimates are that farmers in California produce 100 million to 150 million pounds of the material each year, and Encore Recycling is gearing up to handle every pound it can get its hands on. Farmers will be able to either drop off their used plastic at centralized hubs or arrange for collection at an additional charge.

“And so we’re going to recycle with a purpose. The purpose is take things out of the landfill … that technology allows you to use today to make products that are green and can be produced in the U.S. and make sense for the customer, which is the grocery store, and the consumer and the environment and the industry. And that’s the vision and that’s the path,” Grande said.

Encore expects to start out with 40 workers as production begins in Salinas in October and the company expects that number to grow to 100 in 2014. Creating 500 jobs in a couple of years is certainly ambitious, the CEO said, but he believes it can be done.

“Jobs can be created very quickly, good manufacturing jobs, green manufacturing jobs, in the plastic industry if we’re just willing to do the things that are available today,” he said.

Capturing California’s agricultural plastic waste is one goal, but Grande also is looking elsewhere to repeat the idea. The Salinas location, he said, could serve as a model to be replicated in other locations that have agricultural plastic going to landfills in significant amounts.

Dole Berry Co., for example, expects to save money by avoiding disposal of about 135 tons pounds, of agricultural plastic on an annual basis.

‘‘Instead Encore Recycling will process the material for a new use. We anticipate that participating in the program will result in significant cost savings,” said Thomas Flewell of Dole Berry in a statement.

“In talking to the farmers, they’re frustrated because they don’t want to send their plastic to the landfill and nobody was presenting them with a solution for their problems,” Grande said. “It all just added up that if we could recycle their plastic, turn that plastic into a raw material to make our [reusable grocery] carryout bags, we’ve really done something terrific. We’ve created a closed loop and we’re recycling with a purpose. So that’s become our mantra. We’re going to be recycling with a purpose.”

 


Comments

Command Packaging setting up recycling plant

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: August 14, 2013 4:46 pm ET
Updated: August 14, 2013 5:28 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Recycling trade group growing in size, resources

February 27, 2015 4:50 pm ET

DALLAS — The executive director of the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers is partial to calling his group the little engine that...    More

Image

German molder picks North Carolina for US manufacturing plant

February 26, 2015 4:21 pm ET

UPDATED — German medical goods company Raumedic AG has chosen Mills River, N.C., for its first U.S. manufacturing site and U.S. headquarters.    More

Image

Silicone baby teether company working with Massachusetts recycler

February 26, 2015 1:14 pm ET

A recycling company and a startup will try to keep silicone baby products out of landfill.    More

Image

Price and sustainability both key to success for carpet recycler

February 26, 2015 1:28 pm ET

DALLAS — A green message will get you in the door, but ultimately that sustainability message has to be backed up with quality at the right...    More

Image

Expert says more action needed to solve ocean plastics problem

February 25, 2015 5:59 pm ET

DALLAS — Private companies are going to have to step up to the plate and open their wallets if the world ever wants to solve the growing problem...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events