It's not exactly chasing whales, but Greenpeace Environmental Consultants Inc., a Long Island-based recycler, has begun one whale of an expansion. The Lindenhurst, N.Y., firm, which has no ties to the environmental activist group, has purchased Plastic Manufacturing and Recycling Systems Inc., a Bing-hamton, N.Y., company that recycles engineering grades of plastic and industrial scrap.
Greenpeace Environmental operates multimaterial recycling facilities in Lindenhurst, Hicks-ville, and West Babylon, N.Y., recycling glass, tires, paper and fiber and plastics.
Ron LaBuz, former president of PMRS and newly named president and chief executive officer of Greenpeace Environmental, said Greenpeace will operate PMRS' 190,000-square-foot plant in Binghamton.
The company will collect, clean and grind glass, tires, paper and fiber as well as continue PMRS' core business of recycling engineering grades of plastic. The firm reprocessed about 9 million pounds of engineering-grade plastics last year.
``The idea was to expand our markets and horizons,'' LaBuz said in a telephone interview.
PMRS was a major recycler of engineering-grade plastics, such as nylon and ABS from office and electronic equipment. The company worked closely with original equipment manufacturers to recycle plastic from computer and other electronic hardware.
Greenpeace Environmental also has worked out an agreement with the former Rome Polymers Inc. to operate Rome's post-consumer plastics recycling plant in Utica, N.Y.
``Rome had been having trouble,'' and recently filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, LaBuz said.
Greenpeace Environmental will help run Rome's post-consumer business until the Chapter 11 provisions are satisfied, and then Rome may become part of Greenpeace as well, he said. Rome specializes in recycling post-consumer high density polyethylene.
Greenpeace Environmental also will move extrusion equipment to the Binghamton site to make plastic lumber. Although LaBuz was reluctant to talk much about it, the plastic lumber product will be pre-measured, pre-cut dock kits for aquatic applications.
``Here in upstate New York, we have the Finger Lakes and a lot of recreational boating. There has been some interest in this kind of application for plastic lumber. We will start with this niche product, and possibly go from there,'' he said.
He said he hopes to have the lumber in production by Oct. 1.
LaBuz said Greenpeace has applied for permits to store plastic oil jugs and agricultural plastic covered by state environmental laws, with an eye toward collecting, storing and recycling the plastic.
``We would be able to clean the plastic, process it and sell it, and it is fairly high-grade material, and we will be working on developing the agricultural material side with Cornell University's agricultural engineering school.''
He said that by year's end he hopes to be recycling at a rate of about 25 million pounds of plastics, including all the production from PMRS, other Greenpeace sites and Rome.