In less than two years, Brian Coll has turned a one-man brokerage operation in the basement of his New Cambridge, Ohio, home into a plastics recycling company that is reprocessing more than 80 million pounds annually.
When you are a recycling company in North America that does not export, you have loyal suppliers and buyers, said Coll, CEO of family-owned Coll Materials Exchange LLC.
Coll moved into a new 150,000-square-foot facility in Zanesville, Ohio, this fall. We have aligned ourselves with domestic suppliers and buyers.
In the last 12 months, Coll has invested $3.9 million in land and equipment. Two months ago the company began recycling post-consumer material, and it has the capacity to recycle 100 million pounds a year.
The Zanesville plant has two new Cumberland granulators that can handle 3,000 pounds of material per hour, plus various used granulators, a refurbished sink, wash and float line and a 25,000-square-foot warehouse.
The plant runs three shifts, five days a week, and employs 38.
That's a far cry from December 2007, when Coll left his position as president and chief operating officer of Triple Diamond Plastics Inc. in Liberty Center, Ohio, to concentrate full-time on building a plastics recycling business.
I had been selling packaging for nearly 15 years and it was pretty evident to me that there was an opportunity to get into plastics recycling, said Coll, a former plant manager at thermoformer Fabri-Form Co. in New Concord, Ohio, and operations manager in Richmond, Ind., for pallet, tray and container manufacturer TriEnda LLC.
In less than seven months buying scrap packaging materials largely from carmakers such as General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. Coll was brokering roughly, 200,000 pounds per week. Much of the material was high density polyethylene and polypropylene, but included PET, ABS, thermoplastic elastomers, PVC and engineering resins.
In 2008 the company made the leap into recycling. He bought two used granulators and moved them into a 50,000-square-foot leased plant in Byesville, Ohio.
His customers now include TriEnda and Fabri-Form, plus sheet extruder Primex Plastics Corp., pallet and container manufacturer Orbis Corp. and recycler Harris Material Exchange Inc. in Berne, Ind.
This year the company has continued on the expansion path. In April he acquired Detroit-based recycler Regrind Services LLC.
There were a lot of synergies between the two companies because they had a similar business model focused primarily on post-industrial automotive scrap, and a strong purchasing department that we knew could help us build our supply of material, Coll said. That deal was helped by a loan backed by the Department of Agriculture's business and industry loan guarantee program.
At the time of the acquisition, Regrind Services was reprocessing almost twice as much material as Coll Materials Exchange. Coll said he planned to keep both plants open. But after a few months, it became difficult to justify having two separate Midwest locations, he said.
The numbers didn't add up, said Coll, so he decided in early June to consolidate his plastics recycling operations and move into post-consumer recycling as well.
Coll said he plans to expand the company further. But for the next six months, the focus will be on increasing throughput on the lines and maximizing organic growth in the current plant.
He wants to grow the company's washing, toll grinding and container repair businesses.
At the same time, Coll said he will be evaluating acquisition opportunities on the West Coast, in the Southeast and in Mexico.
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