A West Virginia plastics compounder and recycler is helping launch a manufacturing business as a way to diversify and add jobs.
Technology Plastics is a new company being started by the owner of Star Plastics Inc. of Millwood, W.Va., that will make plastic lids for larger garbage containers often used at retail and business locations.
"I feel that we needed to diversify and move into actually making products without competing with my customers," said Doug Ritchie, owner of Star Plastics and Technology Plastics. "I felt it was an opportunity that made sense to move forward.
Technology Plastics is in the process of laying out its manufacturing operations in about 25,000 square feet of space at Star Plastics' 160,000-square-foot location in Millwood, Ritchie said.
Launching Technology Plastics with the help and support of Star Plastics will give the new company a chance to gain a footing, he said.
Plans are to manufacture and sell lids for rear-load and front-load trash containers. These containers are typically much larger than residential trash cans and used at locations such as stores, businesses and multi-family housing.
While the containers themselves are typically made from steel — some are now made from plastic as well — the lids are usually plastic. And that's where Ritchie sees an opportunity to build a new business.
Economic developers in the East often talk about being located within a 500-mile radius of a large portion of the country's population. And that kind of population density will work in Technology Plastic's favor as well, the owner said.
The company plans to market its trash container lids, made from 100-percent recycled plastic, up and down the East Coast from its site in West Virginia near Parkersburg.
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity," Ritchie said. "I think this investment is going to help us become more diversified, and I'm very excited to make plastic in my home state of West Virginia and hire more people," Ritchie said. "I'm excited about the new venture and the impact it will have on Star Plastics' existing business. It's going to allow it to grow as well."
Technology Plastics will use recycled plastics processed by Star Plastics to make the new lids.
Equipment is expected to be delivered and installed during the second quarter of this year with production starting during the third quarter, the owner said.
Star Plastics currently employs about 110 workers, and four workers initially will transfer from that business to the new operation. New hires will replace those people at Star Plastics.
"We're going to promote from the existing [staff] and then hire. … Within three years our goal is to have 15 people on this investment," the owner said.
Ritchie started Star Plastics 25 years ago. Along with the Millwood location, the company has another site in nearby Ravenswood, W.Va.
While Star Plastics will give Technology Plastics a solid foundation on which to grow, the owner added that the decision to start manufacturing a finished product also will provide a new market for Star Plastics' resin.
"I think it's important that the two businesses are working together and it's diversifying the company," Ritchie said.