Building on the success of its year-old pilot project near Visalia, Calif., Viscotec-U.S. Inc. will open a $1 million agricultural plastics recycling plant in Tulare, Calif., in January with an initial capacity of 2 million pounds per month.
The plant will start with 30 workers and will produce pellets and flake for sale to U.S. customers and for export to Viscotec's parent company in Taiwain, said Gary Schulz, senior U.S. strategist for Viscotec, in a Nov. 20 phone interview.
Viscotec is a subsidiary of Tainan, Taiwan-based Chuang Tieh Plastic Machine Manufacturer Co. Ltd., which has five other plastics recycling plants - in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Tulare plant will mark the firm's first in North America.
Schulz said the 80,000-square-foot plant - a leased facility that formerly housed a printing operation - will process drip tape, mulch film, silage covers and plastic twine from dairies, orchards, wineries and farms.
Berg Mill Supply Co. Inc. of Beverly Hills, Calif., will pick up and deliver the used agricultural plastics to the plant. Schulz said Berg already has delivered 25 semi-loads to the building.
``To begin with, the lion's share of the material will be exported back to Asia,'' he said. Chuang Tieh will use that material to make garbage bags, deck lumber and speed bumps, he said. But he expects that by the second quarter of 2008, Viscotec will have negotiated contracts to sell the recycled resin and flake to firms in the U.S.
``We are looking to develop custom reprocessing projects,'' he said, specifically citing Visalia, Tulare and Fresno as a target region.
Schulz said Viscotec hopes to add two lines within a couple of years, and that the company sees the plant as a prototype for more plants on the West Coast and elsewhere in the United States.
As an agricultural plastics recycler in California, Viscotec joins Eno Plastics LLC, which opened a $4 million, 60,000-square-foot plant in Camarillo in December. When Eno's second line there reaches full capacity, the plant will be capable of reprocessing 20 million pounds of material a year.