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New investments backs expansion for MicroGreen's recycled cups

By: Jim Johnson

March 20, 2014

MicroGreen Polymers Inc. is ramping up production of its InCycle brand of recycled-content PET cups.

The Arlington, Wash.-based company expects to be able to produce 2 million of the cups per day, up from the current 400,000 thanks to a previously announced investment.

InCycle cups are made from recycled PET, typically used soda and water bottles. They are grinded, melted and formed into sheets that are then infused with micro-bubbles. These bubbles expand the volume of the material and allows for the production of four InCycle cups for every plastic bottle that is recycled.

“This expansion has been in the works for several years, ramping up technology developed at University of Washington to full production,” said Tom Malone, CEO of MicroGreen, said in a statement. “Our investors expect big things from us — it’s go-time. Production is running 24/7 on our existing lines, while we’re also managing the construction site and training new employees.”

The company is using investments from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians to fund the expansion and hopes to attract additional funding from other Native America Tribes.

The airline industry is a big market for the company as InCycle cups currently are being used for hot beverage service on Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air and Virgin America flights, the company said. United Airlines will start using the cups in April.

As director of economic development of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Titu Asghar called MicroGreen’s technology “an industry disruptor” in a statement. “This strategy of investment from Native American Tribes is also the future, representing an innovative shift in financial diversification for us.”

InCycle cups use a minimum of 50 percent recycled volume.