Pure Tech Plastics, the recycling division of PureTec Corp., will invest $8 million in its new PET recycling plant scheduled to open in February in Huntington, W.Va.
``Our recycling operations are profitable now. The new plant should help us to get back into the growth mode of our business,'' said William Walkowiak, PureTec's director of investor relations.
``We will continue to expand the business as part of our long-range business plan,'' he said in a telephone interview.
Last week, the Ridgefield, N.J.-based firm, joined by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., released its first details of the plant, which has been under discussion for roughly two years.
Pure Tech is leasing the 150,000-square-foot facility, the former home of an Owens-Illinois Inc. glass container plant that closed in 1993. The plant's initial production capacity will be 60 million pounds per year, Walkowiak said.
Lack of demand for glass bottles forced the Owens plant to close in 1993. Once a vital part of Huntington's economy, it employed roughly 1,000 during its height of production in the 1960s and 1970s, a spokesman for Rockefeller said.
Pure Tech's new operation will create 100 new jobs when it opens in February. The number of employees will rise to a maximum of 150 when the plant increases production, according to the company. Capacity will be added as business grows, Walkowiak noted.
The opening of the Huntington plant follows the recent closing of two Pure Tech recycling plants, one in Springfield, Mass., the other in Grand Rapids, Mich. Some of the equipment from the Springfield plant has been moved to Huntington. Newer equipment will be brought on as needed, Walkowiak said.
The $8 million allocated for the plant will be invested over a few years as the firm implements longer-range plans, he added.
The company said the Huntington area will provide staffing resources and a good strategic location from which to serve its customers.
Rockefeller has been working with PureTec executives since 1995 to open a recycling facility in the state, and helped to secure a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Commerce Economic Development to renovate the glass plant for a new business.
PureTec, which reported 1996 sales of $375 million, employs 2,000 at 22 plants worldwide. The company's plastics operations include home and garden products, medical tubing, packaging components and specialty materials such as vinyl copolymer and dispersion resins.
PureTec plans to test its recycled PET for use as a reinforcing material in its garden hose manufacturing. With the opening of the Huntington plant, Pure Tech Plastics operates six PET recycling plants, and recycles about 100 million pounds of plastic a year.
Plastics News staff reporter Sarah S. Smith contributed to this story.