A plan to build a potentially groundbreaking industrial park in West Virginia that will recycle plastics and other materials from consumer electronics got a big boost Nov. 12, when state officials agreed to kick in $4.3 million to get it started.
The money will let the Polymer Alliance Zone, a plastics-related economic development organization in the state, move ahead with plans to turn 148 acres of land and a vacant warehouse near Parkersburg, W.Va., into an industrial park for recycling electronics.
``This is the money we've been waiting on that will allow us to buy the building and get the project moving,'' said Buddy Graham, president of PAZ in Ripley, W.Va. ``We're just delighted.''
The project still faces major hurdles like attracting tenants and raising millions more dollars to renovate the 312,000-square-foot warehouse. But Graham said the government grant will give the effort more credibility.
``We've got companies that have expressed an interest,'' he said. ``The problem has been that we couldn't tell them when the process will start. Now we can put in a timetable.''
He said he thinks it will take a year to get the first tenants in.
For example, Graham said PAZ officials have talked with electronics and durable goods recycler MBA Polymers Inc. in Richmond, Calif., and other companies about locating there. MBA officials could not be reached.
PAZ is trying to turn the site into an industrial park full of companies that can recycle electronics and then take the materials, including the plastics, and reuse them in other products, he said. The organization wants to take advantage of burgeoning interest around the world in handling end-of-life electronics, he said.
The site has room for seven other buildings, he said.
Graham said PAZ has been working with electronics manufacturers and other companies to secure supplies of computers and other products. Electronics manufacturers have said they want a consistent supply of recycled plastics, but that has been a challenge, Graham said.
He said PAZ has enough commitments from companies looking to get rid of old products to get the industrial park running, but he declined to detail those arrangements.
``We're not starting out from day one to identify collection sources,'' he said. ``We don't anticipate any problems in finding supply.''