Cactus Recycling Inc. installed an eight-position hand-sort line that became operational in October and separates plastic, metal and paper debris. Plastics account for about 25 percent of the business.
The firm may add positions for more volume on the line at its headquarters facility in San Diego, said operations manager Richard Russell.
In current economic conditions, the sorting line is breaking even financially, but it was intended to be and eventually is expected to become profitable.
Volume decreased around October, but it is starting to come back, and we have less competition, Russell said.
The slowdown has been painful. Russell noted that, as manufacturers make less product and there is less scrap for processing, Cactus Recycling faces the same fixed costs.
The firm refuses to accept loads of mixed plastics now and, on a temporary basis, was refusing polystyrene for recycling. PS is back now, Russell said.
Cactus Recycling employs 45 at U.S. sites in San Diego and Los Angeles and 150 at Cactus Recycladora de Mexico S de RL de CV in Tijuana, Mexico, where regrind and foam densification equipment are used.
We had 200 [employees] in Mexico in mid-2008, Russell said in a May 14 interview during the Mexport trade show in San Diego.
The firm started an operation in Mexicali, Mexico, in 2004 and sold it in late 2008.