Buoyed by strong markets for plastic film recycling, Mountain Valley Recycling plans to build several new plants throughout North America and expand its original facility in Tennessee.
The company, which started in Tennessee in 2004, plans to open a film and bag recycling facility in Ontario in May, and another in Nevada in the third quarter, more than doubling its production capacity, said Daniel Schrager, president of the Delray Beach, Fla.-based company.
``We do believe that the markets will remain strong, although we do see them coming down,'' he said. ``The key really is to be able to process and maintain costs.''
Mountain Valley joins other companies investing in film and bag recycling, and the topic is attracting a lot of attention among local governments interested in boosting the low recycling rate for the material.
Schrager said the company takes material from Los Angeles' new curbside plastic bag recycling effort, for example, and the company has a full-time employee to work with governments to boost film collection. He estimates that only 3-5 percent of plastic film is recycled.
The 90,000-square-foot Canadian plant will have a capacity of 30 million pounds a year, and the Nevada plant will have a similar capacity, Schrager said.
The company recently added another recycling line to its Morristown, Tenn., plant, giving it a capacity of 45 million pounds, and has ordered two additional lines to install in 2006, which will boost capacity there to 70 million pounds, he said.
Mountain Valley plans to open another plant in Texas in 2007, and estimates it will have 250 million pounds of capacity by then, up from 65 million now. (It has a 20 million-pound-per-year plant in Michigan.)
Growth in markets for plastic film is fueling the expansion, he said. Traditionally, recycled film tended to go to plastic lumber or export markets, but Schrager said the company's technology can make the material clean enough for applications like building and construction, automotive and packaging.
``We are able to get the resin clean enough and consistent enough to be used,'' he said. ``That's the key - how do you take a very inconsistent raw material and make it usable in a consistent way?''
The company has financed its growth on its own thus far, but is looking for outside investors, Schrager said.
Mountain Valley, which is a division of waste management firm Sun Valley Worldwide Inc., also has started its first product line with its resins, selling shipping pallets made entirely from post-consumer film.
Mountain Valley contracts out manufacturing of the pallets, and plans to introduce a line of recycling bins in the next few months, he said.