A Stevensville, Md., scrap broker just completed its first year under contract to recover and market plastic scrap from Sweetheart Cup Co.
Having dealt in paper collection for nine years, Fibre Marketing Group LLC approached Sweetheart last year with an offer to collect scrap and establish steady end users for the Owens Mills, Md.-based consumer packaging producer.
Fibre Marketing officials said the company so far has recovered 10 million pounds of mostly polystyrene, polypropylene, low and high density polyethylene, and amorphous PET scrap from Sweetheart. Fibre Marketing has been able to sell at an average 22 cents per pound to end users.
``Out of this contract we've had to expand our customer base from paper mills to molders and other people that make plastic products out of this resin,'' said Chris Mehiel, operations manager at Fibre Marketing. ``We have a lot of contacts with other companies that run across different types of resins and have a need to maybe add some value to some of the stuff Sweetheart has.''
Mehiel said Sweetheart presented a perfect opportunity for his company to expand into plastics with Sweetheart's need for consolidation of paper and plastic scrap-recovery services.
Fibre Marketing just a month ago began recovering Sweetheart's paper scrap.
``When we're going into these plants that supply [consumer products], they have plastic and paper, and they really don't like dealing with a bunch of different people to get rid of their scrap,'' Mehiel said.
The company recovers scrap from 10 of Sweetheart's manufacturing and two of its warehousing locations. Charges to end users vary depending on freight, Mehiel said, and his company receives a commission from Sweetheart.
``Our job was to take what they had and get a better price with an end user that wants a steady stream of one item,'' Mehiel said.
Despite higher costs involved with selling plastic scrap over paper and sorting and contamination issues plastics present over paper, the company believes expanding into plastics will pay off.