Recycler Agri-Plas Inc. has expanded again in Oregon and now occupies 72,000 square feet. Recycled agricultural materials, including plastics, account for about 95 percent of the firm's business.
``The companies we sell to want more [recycled] material,'' said Dari Jongsma, Agri-Plas' owner and president.
The firm recently completed the 30,000-square-foot addition.
``We needed more roof cover for storing and sorting materials and drying,'' she said. ``It rains a lot.'' The project obtained a $100,000 grant from the governor's strategic reserve fund.
In March 2005, Agri-Plas consolidated two operations, moving work from Keizer, Ore., and Corona, Calif., to a new facility near Brooks, Ore. About six miles separate the Keizer and Brooks sites. Brooks had an initial 30,000 square feet for processing and 12,000 square feet for shipping and storage.
Agri-Plas mainly recycles isotactic polypropylene, high density polyethylene, high-molecular-weight HDPE and polystyrene. Sources include films, nursery pots and trays, buckets, drums and hoop-house covers that need to be replaced in one- to three-year cycles.
The firm collects materials from Southern California to the Canadian border, and inland from the West Coast to the mountain ranges, Jongsma said in a telephone interview.
Agri-Plas operates a 6-inch Hartec extruder and is finding ways to increase volume. ``We are running more hours'' with the equipment, she said.
After recycling, the cleaned and sorted materials go to plastics reprocessors across the continent.
The company has annual sales exceeding $2 million, but ``we probably will push $4 million in the next 12 months,'' she said.
``We are looking to reach 3 million pounds a month,'' up from the current monthly rate of 1.7 million pounds. About 18 months ago, the rate was about 580,000 pounds per month.
Agri-Plas employs 50 and may add 10-12 positions. ``We are training some new machine operators,'' Jongsma said.
The owner's husband, Allen Jongsma, serves as Agri-Plas vice president and plant manager and deals hands-on with recycling operations.
Agri-Plas has cooperated with the Ag Container Recycling Council in pesticide barrel and jug cleanup efforts.
Agri-Plas has overcome environmental, regulatory and practical barriers since Dari Jongsma started the business in 1994. ``We want to make a difference for the next generation,'' she said. ``We want to leave a world the children will want to inherit - not the leftovers.''