Diversified recycler Denton Plastics Inc. is investing $5.6 million to build and equip a new home in Oregon.
``We have built a small business and created a new culture,'' said Dennis Denton, president and owner. ``We have developed an efficient plant.''
Each month, Denton Plastics recycles more than 3 million pounds of scrap and post-consumer plastics.
Denton established the business in 1983 and immediately began business-exploration treks to China.
Now, Denton Plastics aims for a broader platform, including distribution, more color and additive compounding and blending, and less-than-truckload shipments.
``We want to supply all commodity-based resins to a variety of customers in the Northwest and overseas,'' he said, adding that the company is taking a cradle-to-grave approach.
The next phase, slated to begin within a year or two, involves adding equipment for cleaning polyethylene and PET flake. ``Then we can feed somebody else's plant,'' Denton said.
For the building project, Denton Plastics acquired 7 acres in Gresham, Ore., for $1.3 million and began construction in July.
In January, the firm moved operations 2½ miles from Portland, Ore. A 6-inch-diameter Sterling single-screw extruder was part of the relocation.
The old site was 37,000 square feet. The new structure is 50,000 square feet, with an overhanging roof covering an additional 10,000 square feet. Eventually, Denton will enclose that area and another 10,000 square feet. Building and infrastructure costs are estimated at $3.7 million.
Installation of a $100,000 rail siding was delayed until the ground dried from seasonal rains.
Before the end of June, Denton intends to purchase another extruder and, for virgin resin, a second pulverizer. ``We will start pulverizing rotomold-grade material and make powder,'' he said.
Denton moved four silos and plans to have a total of 12 in use soon. Later, ``we will put in four large silos to accommodate the rail traffic,'' Denton said. The additional storage capacity is needed as the firm begins blending recycled and virgin materials, probably this summer.
``Some people want recycled content along with virgin resin in their products,'' Denton said. ``We make our own blend of industrial-grade black out of recycled resin.''
Denton Plastics had 2005 sales of more than $12 million. About 30 percent of its output was exported to Asia and Canada. During 2006, the company is ``looking for about a 20 percent increase'' in sales, Denton said, bringing the year's total to about $14.4 million.
``Depending on a relationship with a major resin supplier, we plan to be up 50 percent'' in 2007 to possibly exceed $21 million, he said.
Denton said the company is the largest in the Northwest to handle so many diverse types of plastics - currently about 30 engineering and commodity grades.
Primary material customers use utility-grade resins to mold flower pots or manufacture toys or tire chain case boxes.
Denton learned a difficult lesson in the late 1990s. One customer had been purchasing about one-third of his recycled output, but then, after 18 years, decided to go all-virgin, he said.
Now diversified, Denton works with more than 300 suppliers and 300 customers. The largest account represents about 6 percent of the business.
Denton Plastics receives more than 75 percent of its polymer feedstocks from northern California, Oregon, Washington and western Canada. The materials come largely from agricultural, nursery, beverage, automotive and food-packaging applications.
The firm ``employs 40 people and, by the time we are finished with the new pulverizer and extruder and break bulk [systems] for bag and bulk [deliveries], we will add 10 people,'' Denton said.
The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department provided a $500,000 loan, and a Gresham urban renewal development fund gave a $100,000 grant.