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Petoskey Plastics expanding in Indiana

By: Jim Johnson

April 9, 2014

Increasing demand for recycled-content products is fueling Petoskey Plastics Inc.’s push to continue growing.

The company expects to eventually create 26 new jobs through an expansion of the company’s recycling and manufacturing capacity in Hartford City, Ind.

The Petoskey, Mich.-based firm will use a 10-year, $6.2 million city tax abatement to help with the project that will enhance recycling operations and provide increased manufacturing capacity for polyethylene products with recycled content.

Petoskey also will refurbish a rail spur serving the site, work the company said would improve movement of raw materials into the plant.

Petoskey entered the blown plastic film and bag business in 1970 and added recycled content 8 years later.

The company serves a variety of industries, including automotive, grocery, medical, recycling, food, retail, packaging and construction.

More than one half of the products the company makes include at least 50 percent postconsumer recycled content. Recycled content can reach 70 percent.

“We’re seeing increased consumer demand across multiple divisions for products containing recycled content,” marketing director Jason Keiswetter said in an email. “The cost of [virgin] raw materials continues to rise and our technology allows us to make high quality products at a lower cost using recycled materials. So it’s in everybody’s best interest to reduce, reuse, recycle and get that recycled content into new products.”

“It’s a cost strategy as well as an environmental strategy,” he said in the email.

Petoskey recycled than 26 million pounds of film and bags at the Hartford City site last year, which covers about 300,000 square feet.

Used plastics are ground into flakes and washed before being extruded into pellets. That recycled resin is then used to help make new products, including garbage bags, can liners and seat covers. The recycled resin is sandwiched between two layers of virgin material.

“While most businesses and the general economy are growing at a modest pace, Petoskey’s Hartford City plant has exploded over the last two years,” ,” Hartford City Mayor Ben Hodgin said in a statement. “This is great for Petoskey Plastics and it is great for Hartford City and Blackford County.”

The company gets its name from Petoskey, Mich., where its headquarters and original manufacturing site are located. The firm also has a manufacturing site in Morristown, Tenn., and a sales office in Birmingham, Mich.

News of this latest growth follows the company’s $9.7 million expansion at the Hartford City site that added 80 jobs last year.

“Last year’s expansion was the first phase in a long-term plan for incremental growth at the HC facility,” Keiswetter said in the email. “This long-term plan has been in place since we first purchased the property, and we expect there will be further investment in the plant moving forward.”

Petoskey moved to Hartford City in 2007 and started recycling there the following year.

“As consumers and businesses focus more on recycling and green products, we are gearing up to meet the growing demand,” Petoskey CEO Paul Keiswetter said in a statement.