Mr Plastic Recyclers Inc. opened a post-industrial recycling operation in Erie, Pa., Oct. 1, with injection molder Plastek Industries Inc. of Erie as a key source of scrap material.
``Our largest accounts are asking us to expand,'' Manuel Serrano, the recycling firm's president, said in a telephone interview. ``We are getting more contracts with existing customers, and they have asked us to take care of facilities elsewhere.''
The firm sources, regrinds and sells plastics, in some cases back to an original resin manufacturer for repelletizing, compounding and reuse.
Mr Plastic Recyclers has operated in Ontario, Calif., since 1985 and in Columbus, Ohio, since September 1995.
Now, the 80,000-square-foot Ontario plant employs 38, and monthly ships about 2 million pounds of regrind, about half of the plant's output, to injection molders in China. In Columbus, the firm employs 17 and has 30,000 square feet. In Erie, a 28,000-square-foot facility is outfitted with three 150-horsepower Cumberland A23 grinding machines.
In entering the business in 1983, Serrano ``needed to convince molders to use regrind.'' Not anymore. There has been a ``180-degree turnaround on the issue,'' he said.
``There's not enough good, clean plastics,'' Serrano said. ``We have the market. We need the sources.''
Each site is leased, but Serrano is exploring the use of California industrial revenue bonds to acquire the Ontario facility. The growth formula includes taking a three-year lease with an option to buy new locations.
``It takes about three years to feel confident enough'' that the operation can reach its sales goals, he said.
But more growth is imminent.
``We are building a team now to go into Illinois in the next nine to 12 months and we are studying vendor potential in the South.''
He forecasts 1997 sales of more than $10 million and a network of 15-20 post-industrial recycling locations in the next five years.