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Recycler to distribute calcium carbonate additives

By: Frank Esposito

June 19, 2014

Recycling firm Empire Resource Recycling has opened a new unit to handle distribution of Oshenite-brand calcium carbonate additives.

The new unit — Empire Resource Partners — is wholly owned by Rochester, N.Y.-based Empire Resource Recycling, ERR spokesman Tom Bourne said by phone June 17. But working with U.S. Aragonite Enterprises LLC — the Salem, Mass.-based firm that makes Oshenite “is more than just a distribution relationship,” Bourne said.

ERP will sell Oshenite to a wide range of customers, with an early focus on extruded PVC products such as pipe and fencing. Oshenite — an oolitic aragonite material that’s sourced off the shores of an island that’s part of the Bahamas — can add strength to parts in those applications, officials said.

In a news release, ERR owner Frank Murphy said that his firm has been successful in displacing virgin resins with up to 25 percent Oshenite loadings in many applications. He added that Oshenite can replace recycled PVC, which, he said, can be difficult to procure in quantity and quality.

ERR employs 25 at three recycling sites in the Rochester area. The 11-year-old firm does mostly post-industrial recycling, including a large amount of food-grade polyethylene. Services offered by ERR include grinding, washing and repelletizing.

In a June 17 phone interview, U.S. Aragonite executive vice president Gary Miller said that the costs savings in replacing PVC resin with 25 percent Oshenite loadings “are enormous” in fencing and other applications.

He added that U.S Aragonite now is shipping truckload amounts of Oshenite. The firm grinds the material in Texarkana, Ark., and then works with several compounders to use the material in various resins.

ERP will be distributing Oshenite as a calcium carbonate, not as a compound. The firm also might use Oshenite in some of its own recycled resins, Bourne said.

U.S. Aragonite was founded in 2010 by Miller and his business partners, all of whom have extensive plastics industry experience in thermoforming, sheet and similar markets. The firm began commercial production of Oshenite in 2012.