Manchester, N.H.-based Keller Products Inc. has joined the growing legion of building products makers that are betting on green.
The company has launched its ``Green Chemistry'' program, an initiative Keller officials will use to develop and manufacture biodegradable plastic products, as well as to promote recycling and the replacement of certain PVC products.
On the recycling side of the new program, Keller is using ABS scrap and post-consumer ABS and polycarbonate to manufacture interior building products like office partitions, and exterior products like rigid framework for outdoor signs.
``The office partition industry uses a lot of PVC. We have some customers that are trying to move away from PVC,'' said John Hudson, Keller's chief operating officer, in a July 26 telephone interview.
And in the emerging market of bioresins, Keller plans to use a biodegradable ``ABS-like'' material to manufacture outdoor camping equipment, as well as products for agricultural packaging applications.
The fact that degradable resins carry a price premium is not hurting Keller, said Jim Decknick, vice president of sales and marketing. Keller is working with companies looking to diversify their product lines, not switch over to bioresins entirely.
``One of the reasons they're flocking to us is because they want a segment of their product line to be a green product alternative,'' Decknick said. ``Whether it's 10 or 15 percent of their product line, they want to be able to say that they have it.
``It costs more. No doubt. But they want to tout it.''
Moreover, the gap is closing between the cost of bioresins and virgin resins, said Keller officials, noting that bioresins have fallen below the $2 per-pound threshold, as some virgin resin prices have escalated.
The Keller Plastics division of Keller Products accounts for 50-60 percent of the company's overall business. Keller Plastics operates out of a 50,000-square-foot extrusion plant in Bow, N.H. Keller also has some injection molding capacity there. The company also manufactures wood products.