Belgium's Socaplast BVBA plans to open a U.S. headquarters and polyvinyl butyral recycling center in Springfield, Mass., on the campus of a Solutia Inc. facility.
Houthulst, Belgium-based Socaplast will invest $3.4 million and create about 15 jobs, according to a Feb. 27 news release from the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts in Springfield.
The recycler has been operating for more than 30 years, and for the past 10 years, has been using a unique process to recycle PVB foil and trimmings that are cut off during lamination. Socaplast is a European supplier for St. Louis-based Solutia, which makes Saflex, an interlayer of plasticized PVB used in laminated glass for automotive applications like windshields.
Solutia spokeswoman Melissa Hammonds said Socaplast has signed a letter of intent to take over some warehouse space in Springfield.
Solutia's Ghent, Belgium, Saflex site previously has worked with Socaplast, she said.
The Belgian recycler plans to occupy 40,000 square feet of space by mid-May, according to Allan Blair, EDC's president and chief executive officer.
``We've been working with [Socaplast] about six months. They came to the area asking about various sites and they wanted a lot of information about doing business in the U.S.,'' Blair said Feb. 29 by telephone.
The recycler looked at various sites in western Massachusetts and Connecticut before choosing Springfield, he said. Proximity to Solutia was a key factor
Socaplast will recycle PVB trim and supply pellets to Solutia facilities in Springfield, as well as Michigan and Mexico.
Ann Burke, vice president of EDC, said another reason Springfield was chosen is the new flight from nearby Bradley International Airport to Amsterdam, Netherlands. That flight started in July, she added.
Solutia also has a regional headquarters in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. The firm claims its Saflex division is the world's largest manufacturer of PVB interlayer for laminated glass used in homes, other buildings and automobiles.