Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc. has taken on several expansions at its Junction, Texas, plant and plans to open a new plant next year. AERT's first phase in Junction is nearing completion, said President Joe Brooks. The $2 million project adds 25,000 square feet of plant and warehouse space, for a total of 80,000 square feet. About 25 new employees joined the staff of 190, and the company added an extrusion line dedicated to plastic lumber.
``This added capacity for our decking material,'' said David Dunning, special projects director.
The expansion will give AERT three lines extruding its proprietary composite plastic lumber building materials at the Junction plant.
High density polyethylene shopping bags are reclaimed at AERT's Rogers, Ark., facility, where they are cleaned and reprocessed. In Junction, pellets are combined with ground heartwood cedar fiber for use in door and window, industrial flooring and residential decking markets.
The second phase, also nearing completion, will add a fourth composites extrusion manufacturing line at the Junction plant. The company will add employees, and raw materials and load-out facilities.
AERT's new, 75,000-square-foot plant in Harrison, Ark., will open in conjunction with Sutton Products Corp. on Feb. 1, Brooks said. It will have eight extrusion lines to make composite lumber and will employ 40. After 18 months of production, about 100 people will be employed there, Brooks said. The $2 million project will serve the decking material industry with the production of Choice-dek-brand plastic lumber for Weyerhauser Corp.
The company also has added an outside director, Jim Culp, formerly the North American PE recycling division manager for Dow Chemical Co.
A Sept. 1 fire at the Rogers plant damaged adjacent PE storage areas. About 450,000 pounds of recycled PE was stored in the area, ready for shipment to Junction. Steve Brooks, chief executive officer, said he expects most of that to be unusable.
The storage area was not destroyed and the plant is running on a limited basis. Adequate supplies of plastic feedstocks were available to continue supplying customers.
AERT officials plan to be back to full-time production in two weeks.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.