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Loan helps Cleveland recycler see fresh growth

By: Rachel Abbey McCafferty
CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS

September 30, 2013

New Wave Plastics has invested in a new automated tie-baling system and a size-reduction machine, increasing the recycling capabilities of its plant in Cleveland.

The equipment investments were made using a $1.6 million Small Business Administration loan from KeyBank that New Wave Plastics received in May, said CEO T.R. Mitchell. The plastics and industrial waste recycler last year saw about 45 million pounds of plastics flow through its plant, Mitchell said. This year, the company expects that figure to reach about 60 million pounds — and the growth is expected to continue in 2014.

New Wave Plastics specializes in processing PVC, Mitchell said, but it has expanded into other plastic compounds and plans to begin handling other types of polymers in the next two years.

The new equipment has increased the company's processing capabilities. Before buying the baling machine, which arrived last month, employees baled the plastic scrap by hand, and the company could bale about one ton an hour, Mitchell said. Now, the machine can bale about 10 tons of plastics in an hour by itself — a "major accomplishment," Mitchell said.

And the size-reduction machine, which is due to arrive in September and will have metal separation capabilities, will be able to process about 10 million pounds of plastic per year on just that one line.

Prior to the investment in the new equipment, New Wave Plastics in March also invested in a new computer system that allows for real-time inventory tracking and customer management. New Wave Plastics also hired another seven employees to work on the floor in Cleveland this past year, Mitchell said. He plans to hire another two sales employees in the next year. The company has about 45 employees in Cleveland, said Mitchell, who declined to disclose New Wave Plastics' annual revenue.

The growth in business at New Wave Plastics is due to an increase in demand for recycled materials and a contraction in plastic waste exports, Mitchell said. China's government has been cracking down on the amount of waste it brings into the country. That situation opens possibilities for domestic waste processors such as New Wave Plastics, Mitchell said.

Director of sales Doug Coates said New Wave Plastics also sets itself apart by taking all industrial waste — not just plastics — and using the company's sales team to find homes for what it can't process.

A complete version of this story is available at www.crainscleveland.com.