Paper sludge has no better place than to be mixed with plastic and extruded into a deck board, at least as far as Kadant Composites Inc. is concerned.
Officials from the Bedford, Mass., extruder talked about new products and growth during the International Builders' Show, held Jan. 19-22 in Las Vegas.
``We have a sister company, which produces a granule, and most of what they produce goes into a number of industrial applications,'' said F. John Long, vice president of sales and marketing.
``They sell a granule from the sludge that is used as a carrying agent for fertilizer, for instance. In the process of extruding that granule, they created a very microscopic granule that was too small to be used in any of the applications that they were selling into, and they were hauling that in carloads off to the landfill.''
Instead of dumping the granules, officials mixed them with recycled polyethylene and rice hulls to make GeoDeck, which came on the market in 2001.
``That granule is the key ingredient that gives us our fade resistance as well as a very, very strong product,'' Long said.
The company has one extrusion site in Green Bay, Wis.
``We're up to 140,000 square feet. We have nine extrusion lines now. That will max out our Green Bay facility, so the next step will be that we'll have to add another,'' Long said. ``We're taking a wait-and-see approach to this year, and hopefully we'll finalize those plans later this year.''
At the show, Kadant introduced a white railing system that is a composite core coextruded with a PVC coating. Kadant announced seven new distributors for the 2004 home-improvement season, in locations including Charleston, S.C.; Peachtree City, Ga.; and Cancún, Mexico.