BARABOO, WIS. - In a flash, a Wisconsin lighting reflector maker will shed light on a whole new business - plastics composites. Badger USA Industries Inc. of Baraboo will set up a plant to make 6 million to 8 million pounds per year of a composite of plastic, wood and newspaper scraps.
``We're very excited about this,'' said Mike Ford, Badger vice president for marketing. ``We have been using high density and low density polyethylene and polypropylene scrap along with wood `flour' or waste newsprint to make this material, and have found we can get reduced cycle times for the pelletized feedstock we will be making.''
Ford said the venture grew out of Badger's cooperation with a consortium of companies interested in developing markets for recycled wood products. The Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service formed the consortium.
``We became involved because we had marketing experience with recycled material, and acted as a consultant to the consortium,'' Ford said. ``We are a very environmentally conscious company and are always interested in finding ways to help in recycling.''
The provisions of the federal funding of the consortium required the members not only to identify markets for recycled materials, but actually to develop materials and processes.
``We decided to get into it and have been testing this material,'' Ford said. ``And we have gone out and found some customers who are interested.''
He said the composite material is practical for automotive components, bicycle parts, scissor grips, paintbrush handles and other products, he said.
``We will be running one line at first, making pellets only,'' he said. ``We find that the wood powder and paper give added strength, and reduce heat and cycle times.''
The plant probably will be in a leased building of 10,000 square feet and be operating by October, Ford said.