CLEVELAND - Some of those pesky orange barrels that block highways during the busy summer construction season are greening up both the environment and the wallet of a Cleveland company. Plastic Safety Systems Inc., a manufacturer of the orange barrels, has unveiled a new barrel that is made with post-consumer plastic and rubber.
The internal layer of the company's ``Lifegard PCR'' barrel is produced with milk jugs, soda bottles and other plastics collected from households. Its ballast collar is made from recycled tires.
The barrels are sold to road construction companies that will pay a slight premium to be environmentally conscious, said Plastic Safety President David E. Cowan.
``It's not a lot more money,'' Cowan said. ``The cost of virgin plastic has gone up about 50 percent in a year, so recycled barrels cost almost the same.''
On average, the barrels cost $50 each, he said.
The 18-employee company began using recycled materials to get an edge in the traffic control business: ``It's not a huge market,'' Cowan said. ``Every year, there are about 500,000-750,000 barrels sold nationwide.''
He declined to disclose the company's market share, but said its sales last year were about $3.5 million.
``It's a very regional product,'' Cowan said. ``For instance, you won't see orange barrels on the Pennsylvania Turnpike,'' because that state mandates vertical panels at construction sites.