Pactiv Corp. has completed the first three phases of a $14.5 million expansion of its capacity to manufacture hinged food-carryout containers.
Spokesman Matthew Gonring said in a July 20 telephone interview that the three newest manufacturing lines will add 25 jobs at the Moorhead, Minn., plant, which employs 150 in wood-fiber molding. The 110,000-square-foot plant is on 17 acres.
The plant formerly was set up for the manufacture of egg cartons made from recycled paper, he said. We chose this location for our hinge-ware production because of its location and the capacity and capabilities that were in place.
In a July 19 news release, the Lake Forest, Ill.-based maker of Hefty trash bags said initial production of the containers part of Pactiv's EarthChoice line of food-service products made from bio-based materials began early in 2009. The project is expected to be fully operational by October.
Gonring would not give details of machinery purchases associated with the facility's conversion to EarthChoice hinge-ware production.
Pete Lazaredes, executive vice president and general manager of Pactiv's food-service/food-packaging segment, said food-service customers are looking for carry-out packaging that is sustainable and compostable.
Not only are we pleased with response to our EarthChoice products, we are already anticipating additional significant investments in our U.S.-based molded-fiber-manufacturing capabilities, Lazaredes said in the news release.
Pactiv's proprietary molding technology allows for finely molded features such as curves, folds and precise in-molded closures. Made from a blend of wood-pulp fibers, EarthChoice hinge-ware is ASTM D 6868 certified, Cedar Grove Composting-approved and is processed without chlorine.
The EarthChoice line also includes cold-drink cups, portion cups and lids, hinged lids and deli containers, and straws made from NatureWorks LLC Ingeo-brand polylactic acid resin. The line also includes hot cups and soup cups lined with PLA.
Bagasse-blend tableware, one of Pactiv's first and strongest-selling sustainable product lines, is made from bagasse leftover fiber from sugarcane processing and bamboo. EarthChoice PSM (which stands for plastarch material) cutlery is manufactured with plastarch cornstarch-based resin.
Rounding out the EarthChoice portfolio are TFPP Smart Lock hinged-lid containers, which use a talc-polypropylene blend to reduce plastic use by about 40 percent, and recycled PET hinged-lid containers, made from a minimum of 25 percent post-consumer and post-industrial content.
Pactiv reported first-quarter profit of $48 million on sales of $777 million, compared with profit of $77 million on sales of $766 million for the year-ago period. For 2009, Pactiv reported sales of $3.9 billion.
Plastics News and other media outlets have reported that private equity giant Apollo Global Management and packaging powerhouses Georgia-Pacific Corp. and Rank Group Ltd. all are interested in buying Pactiv. Any deal would be complicated by the $1.5 billion in debt that sits on Pactiv's books, due in large part to recent acquisitions.
Since May, when news of a potential Pactiv buyout broke, the company's stock has traded roughly between $28 and $30 per share.