Two initiatives 200 miles apart to recycle agricultural film in central California are developing slower than their respective owners had anticipated. But both firms still are on track to become established recycling operations.
Now in its sixth month, Eno Plastics LLC is recycling agricultural film at an annual rate of just more than 6 million pounds at a plant in Camarillo, about 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles. That volume is about 60 percent less than the 15 million pounds of capacity Eno had projected for that line - which the company says is the first washing line on the West Coast for turning agricultural plastics into pellets.
Eno shreds and grinds, washes and dries, and turns recycled plastics into pellets that are sold primarily in California.
In addition, a second wash and recycling line the firm had hoped to install by spring now won't be operational until year's end.
``We are about five or six months behind where we ideally would have liked to been,'' said Eno General Manager Stan Kezar, a 36-year plastics recycling veteran.
Similarly, Viscotec-U.S. Inc. began a pilot project with five farms to collect agricultural waste near Visalia last October and had hoped to be in full operation by spring with a $3.8 million plant and equipment capable of processing 2 million pounds of agricultural waste monthly. But that projected opening date has been pushed back to Jan. 1, 2008, at the earliest.
``There are more challenges than what the client had anticipated,'' said Gary Schulz, a Tulare, Calif., consultant. Schulz is helping Eno develop marketing opportunities and working with local governments on site selection and permits. ``The plant can be up and operational within 18 months after all the permits are in hand,'' he said.
Under that timetable, the plant might not open until November 2008, as a site has yet to be chosen and the review and permit process still lies ahead.
Schulz said Viscotec was looking at locations in Tulare County and one in nearby Fresno County. He said the company and Tulare County officials are convinced the county's more than 400 dairy farms can produce enough agricultural waste to supply the plant.
Viscotec is a subsidiary of Chuang Tieh Plastics Machine Manufacturer Co. Ltd., based in Tainan, Taiwan, which has five plastics recycling plants in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.