SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc. opened a $3 million plant in June and plans to keep expanding it.
The 103,000-square-foot plastic lumber manufacturing facility in Springdale runs one line and employs around 70.
Phase one of the expansion, to be completed by Oct. 1, will give the plant two more extrusion lines, millwork capabilities plus a finishing and painting facility, said President Joe Brooks.
The plant eventually will have five extrusion lines and nearly 140 employees, he said.
``Springdale will be four times bigger than Junction, Texas,'' where AERT has another plant, Brooks explained. ``Junction has three lines. And we still haven't decided on whether or not we will be going back to Rogers, Ark.''
Two arson fires in 1996 forced the company to close the Rogers plant. Rogers recycled post-consumer low and high density polyethylene for AERT's MoistureShield and ChoiceDek brands of composite building materials. TheRogers plant shipped clean, reprocessed PE to AERT's Junction site, which mixed it with cedar fibers and extruded it. The company received more than $2 million from insurance for the fires.
AERT's woes don't end there. Tropical Storm Charley washed out the roads around the Junction plant, causing the plant to close for three days in August. A small crew and the company's security service stayed on site, and the plant was not damaged.
The publicly held company reported almost $8 million in sales last year.