Gordon Polymers soon may be filling the scrap needs of sister company Amcel Corp., a film manufacturer based in Watertown, Mass. The new outfit hopes to start its own recycling operation, but so far Gordon's two-man crew has been making contacts and building its scrap supplier base.
Although the company has been shopping for plant sites in and around Tennessee - it recently looked at an empty building in Newbern - it is still early for concrete plans, said Robert Connor, Amcel's chief operating officer. But the expense, for plant and equipment, could reach as high as $20 million, he noted.
Gordon's proposed recycling plant initially will supply Amcel's yearly 25 million-pound requirement for reprocessed resin. When it reaches that mark, Gordon will take on other customers. In the end, the company expects to have about 20 suppliers of reprocessed polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene.
Currently, Amcel reprocesses about 600,000 pounds of scrap a year, including its own, for in-house use. For now, it is buying all of Gordon's scrap supply, but the firm still is about 12 months shy of providing for all of Amcel's needs. Eventually Amcel's business will make up roughly one-third of Gordon's total, Connor said by phone Aug. 23.
Lloyd Gordon is owner of both Watertown-based firms, which he runs as independent operations. His son Jay Gordon is heading up Gordon Polymers; Dennis Collins is executive vice president.
Connor said Lloyd Gordon made the decision to branch out because Amcel is using more scrap in its stock film products, including trash bags and bags used for food items, such as prepackaged produce, and its injection molded disposable cutlery. Having Gordon as its sole supplier will help Amcel control costs by eliminating the middleman, he said.
Amcel extrudes film at plants in Edison, N.J., and Louisville, Ky. The Louisville plant also houses its injection molding business, which consumes about 15 million pounds of resin annually and brings in sales of $16.5 million.
In June, Amcel closed a leased facility in Emeryville, Calif., terminating about 45 workers and selling inventory and equipment - both extruders and presses - to Zeta Consumer Products Corp. of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. Zeta moved that equipment to its recently expanded Macomb, Ill., facility.
When Amcel bought the Emeryville business in 1989, its products were aimed at retail customers, but the company unsuccessfully tried to turn it toward the institutional market, Connor said.
Amcel's film sales dropped from $68 million in 1993, to about $48 million last year. But closing the plant should increase profit significantly, he added.
``It was a dog,'' Connor said. ``We couldn't get into the mind of the California customer.''
Lloyd Gordon has owned the 50-year-old company since 1978.