Recycling mixed plastics is a problem that new nonprofit company New Frontier Industries Inc. plans to solve.
Groundbreaking on the $5.5 million project in Milton, N.H., took place at the end of March. According to Chief Executive Officer Mike Samson, the 22,000-square-foot recycling plant will open Aug. 1, and within a month it should be producing its first products.
``One of our advantages is the low cost of feedstock. No one wants the resins that can't be separated,'' Samson said in a recent telephone interview.
To start, New Frontier will use the mixed resins to produce sound-barrier panels and decking, both of which can be used in place of pressure-treated wood.
New Frontier is owned by Northeast Resource Recovery Association, a 25-year-old, nonprofit cooperative with members including municipalities and businesses.
Elizabeth Bedard, NRRA executive director, said her group has about 300 members. Among other things, it operates as a clearinghouse to find recycling markets for its members. She said NRRA brought 45,000 tons of material, including 818 tons of plastic, to market last year.
That's why NRRA is growing in plastics.
The process to build New Frontier started about five years ago with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to study mixed plastics recycling. Samson said that the states of New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the American Plastics Council, provided funds.
Samson said the cooperative evaluated 21 technologies. New Frontier ended up licensing a process from Green Polymer Technologies of Schaumburg, Ill. David Cornell, president of D.D. Cornell Associates LLC of Kingsport, Tenn., evaluated the process. He cited a proprietary additive package that set Green Polymer Technologies apart.
Samson said New Frontier will have 35 employees and throughput of 15 million pounds in three years.
One of the difficulties of being nonprofit, according to Samson, was finding the $5.5 million to fund the building and equipment. New Frontier received a loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program, and a local bank, Laconia Savings Bank, is providing part of the loan. The rest of the money is coming from New Hampshire state programs.
Hannaford Bros. Co., a Portland, Maine-based supermarket company, is a supplier, taking in about 800 tons of mixed plastics a year from its stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York.