You can add Birch Plastics Inc. to the list of plastics materials firms that had a good year in 2010.
Houston-based Birch moved into a new and larger location there in October. The 33,000-square-foot plant is 3,000 feet larger than the combined total of the two buildings that the firm previously had occupied.
The new site is in Houston's South Loop area and is only a few miles away from Birch's previous location. But having everything under one roof has improved overall efficiency, owner and general manager Robert Lang said in a Dec. 14 phone interview.
Even if you only needed a few boxes of something, you'd have to wait, if they were at the other building, he said.
Birch also has installed its third compounding line at the new site, joining two that the firm operates at a plant in Cuero, Texas, about 120 miles away. The firm also operates grinding lines and a baler at the new site.
Birch has added four workers since midyear and now employs 16. The firm is on track to post sales of $7.5 million in 2010 an increase of 40 percent from the prior year.
Lang, who founded the firm in 2001, credited the growth to increased demand for compounds with recycled content, and to more distribution sales of near-prime grades of polyethylene and polypropylene.
We've got some good contracts for post-industrial content, he said. And export business had died out, but now it's starting to come back.
Birch generates half of its sales from compounding and recycling, with the other half coming from distribution. About 60 percent of Birch's compounds are based on recycled material, with the remaining 40 percent based on virgin resins. The firm processed 18 million pounds of recycled and virgin material in total in 2010.
Prior to opening Birch, Lang had worked in the plastics market for almost 20 years, including stints with plastic lumber maker Trex Inc., compounder LNP Engineering Plastics and resin distributor/recycler Longwood Plastics Inc. a firm operated by his father, Howard.