TPG invests to improve its Rhode Island facilities

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The Plastics Group The Plastics Group is upgrading its facilities in Woonsocket, R.I., including this renovated former mill.

The Plastics Group of America (TPG) is taking steps to improve its two sites in Woonsocket, R.I.

At its main facility, Woonsocket-based TPG recently installed a new air purification system. The Air King industrial air cleaners installed there capture most airborne nuisance particulates, officials said in a recent news release. The filtered air is then re-circulated back into the working environment without the need for duct work.

“We can have a lot of dust from the talc and minerals and glass that we use, and that’s not good for the environment,” Executive Vice President Mike Rosenthal said in a recent phone interview. “The new air system will improve the atmosphere in the building.”

The compounder and recycler also is the middle of installing an extensive water reclamation system at the plant. The project involves new plumbing and storage tanks that will circulate water used in production back for re-use, officials said, filtering it so that it’s over 95 percent clean. The system will allow the company to save tens of thousands of gallons of water each week, they added.

Rosenthal estimated the combined cost of the air and water projects at between $250,000 and $400,000. In addition, TPG is investigating a solar energy system on the roof of its main location.

“Each of these projects will lessen our environmental footprint as a manufacturer while optimizing our production capabilities,” President Bob Lebeaux said in the release.

At its second Woonsocket site — a former mill building that’s being used for storage and recycling — TPG is doing renovation work that officials said will simplify the workflow process and provide the company with easier access to additional floors in the 400,000-square-foot building.

Because the building is close to the Blackstone River, TPG had to construct special catch basins for water runoff around its proposed new loading dock. The company received the state Department of Environmental Management’s stamp of approval in September and immediately began moving forward with its plans.

The first part of the $1 million project involved adding a curb cut-out behind the building to enable easier access to the site, and to the loading dock that’s being built at the back of the building. Off of the loading dock will be a state-of-the-art lift with a 20,000-pound capacity. The platform will also have a built-in scale for properly weighing materials being transported both into and out of the building.

Lebeaux described the projects as “a significant undertaking for the company.

“Making these upgrades has required careful planning in order to minimize the impact on areas with historical significance in the building,” he said. He also credited Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt for providing “invaluable input and direction … that have enabled us to undertake these improvements.”