New Hampshire's largest electric utility announced recently the completion of a 700-foot barrier wall made of recycled plastics in Portsmouth, N.H.
Milton, N.H.-based New Frontier Industries Inc. - a nonprofit manufacturing outfit that mixes multiple recycled materials into plastic lumber extrusions - built the EverQuiet-brand wall. New Frontier also makes recycled plastic deck boards, though its main focus is on barrier wall production, said Mike Samson, New Frontier's chief executive officer, in a June 23 telephone interview.
Samson said the company, using a licensed process from Schaumburg, Ill.-based Green Polymer Technologies Inc., can mix as many as seven or eight separate materials, including polyolefins, high and low density polyethylene, high-impact polystyrene, PS, ABS and polypropylene.
``The technology allows us to blend normally incompatible resins,'' Samson said.
The material comes from various suppliers including large grocers and computer manufacturers.
Scrap and post-consumer waste like buckets or spools, pill bottles, other packaging waste and computer scrap are all used to make New Frontier's products.
Transportation departments throughout the country are taking notice, Samson said.
Department of transportation-related projects are in the works for Colorado, Illinois and New Hampshire, he said. The wall systems also are being sold for commercial applications, like for strip malls and near railroads. This month, the company is delivering a product in Hawaii.
``There is a pretty good-sized market for commercial work,'' Samson said.
The barrier wall in Portsmouth represents about 75,000 pounds of plastic - about 10 percent of the company's throughput in 2005.
Demand for the 3-year-old firm's products is on the rise.
New Frontier processed about 50,000 pounds in fiscal year 2004 and 275,000 pounds in 2005.
``This year, we'll do in excess of 700,000 pounds,'' Samson said. ``Next year, we anticipate we're going to do about 1.5 million.''
Expansion plans are in the works. Company officials are looking at New Hampshire and other locations to expand the firm's U.S. manufacturing presence.
New Frontier's extrusion operations are in a 22,000-square-foot plant in Milton.
The company started with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as funding from the states of New Hampshire and Vermont and the Arlington, Va.-based American Plastics Council.