Despite the failure this year of several agricultural film recycling ventures on the West Coast, startup plastics recycler Genesis Poly Recycling Inc. is taking aim at making that concept work in a plant it will be starting in Mankato, Minn., early next year.
We will be up and running in February, said President John Schmitz in a Dec. 2 phone interview. The two companies in California didn't have the right size to succeed. Our plant will recycle 60 million pounds of agricultural and horticultural film in the first year, he said.
Schmitz said Genesis will add a 50,000-square-foot addition to the 100,000-square-foot former Spartech Corp. plant that it is leasing from the city. The addition will be complete shortly after operations begin.
In late November, Genesis secured $12.3 million in financing, which included a $7.44 million loan from U.S. Bank that was backed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture program. Schmitz said all but about $1 million of the money will be used to purchase and customize the extruders, pelletizers and washing equipment for the plant.
Schmitz and his partner, CEO and Chief Financial Officer Dan Hauschild, previously operated Advanced Granulating Solution Inc., which won the Minnesota Governor's Award for Waste and Pollution Prevention in 2007.
AGSI partnered with the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association to create a recycling program for horticultural plastics that in 2007 diverted 610,000 pounds of plastic pots and 240,000 pounds of clear greenhouse film.
I owned a trucking company for 10 years and toward the end I was hauling a lot of plastics, Schmitz said. Someone suggested to me that I get a grinder and turn the plastics into pellets.
Then, I switched to horticultural materials because there was a lot more of that and I didn't have to pay for it, because the businesses with those waste products would otherwise have had to transport and dispose of the material, he said.
But AGSI folded in November 2008, when financial backing for its planned agricultural film recycling operations in Savage, Minn., fell through two weeks before operations were slated to begin.
Schmitz and Hauschild started Genesis in December 2008 in Maple Grove, Minn.
The new plant will start with 40 workers, with plans to increase to 112 by 2011 and more than 300 by its fifth year of operation, Schmitz said. The company plans to add a second line in year two, a third line in year three and a fourth line in year four.
Schmitz said that Genesis will obtain its agricultural film and horticultural plastic from the Midwest and sources on both coasts.
He said suppliers have been storing materials, and there are 30 million to 40 million pounds of material we can bring in immediately when we start up.
Schmitz said the company will recycle clean and dirty agricultural film, such as bale wrap, bale twine, field film, silage bags and 55-gallon jugs, and horticultural plastic waste such as plastic flower pots, polystyrene trays, hanging baskets, landscape edging, irrigation drip tape, shrink wrap, triple-rinsed pesticide jugs and fertilizer, mulch and salt bags.
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