Industrial plastics recycler Grace Plastics Inc. is opening up a plant in Simpsonville, S.C., that will be its first recycling plant outside of its headquarters location of Batavia, Ohio.
The facility is scheduled to begin operating this week.
“We are pretty much set up to grind,” said President Harold Johnson in a phone interview April 18. “We just brought in four truckloads of scrap today.”
Johnson expects to use a lot of mixed automotive plastics.
“I fully expect that within six months, we'll be pushing out close to 1 million pounds of regrind a month at that plant,” which is the amount he said the company currently produces at the 60,000-square-foot plant in Batavia.
Johnson said Grace just moved an existing grinder, shredder and air wash system into the 60,000-square-foot building in Simpsonville, which it plans to fully occupy eventually. The decision to open a plant in Greenville County made sense from both an economic and logistics standpoint, Johnson said. Grace was shipping 10 truckloads of material a month — at a cost of $800 per truckload — from three customers in upstate North Carolina to its plant in Batavia, which has two shredder/grinder lines.
“We decided to expand about six months ago, and felt that if we were going to expand it should be in the upstate region of South Carolina” near existing customers, said Johnson.
“The South Carolina facility will give us the opportunity to reach new customers in the Southeast [and] grow our overall operations,” he said. “We have a good potential of bringing on other companies in the area.”
Johnson said Grace is currently leasing 15,000 square feet of the Simpsonville facility, and the current plan is to lease an additional 15,000 square feet every quarter — or sooner if needed. He also said Grace has an agreement in place to purchase the building for $825,000 in the next nine months.
Initially, the plant represents a small investment: the cost of the lease, and the cost to move about $50,000 of existing equipment to Simpsonville, Johnson said.
But he said the firm plans to add equipment to the South Carolina plant in the next 12 months.
“We are probably going to add two smaller grinders at a cost of $200,000, and a $40,000 sort line to separate out materials that would otherwise be going to China in mixed bales,” Johnson said.
He said the new plant could employ 10-15 people once the additional equipment and sort line are added. “We're excited about South Carolina,” said Johnson. “The business climate is very friendly and we'll be adding jobs.”
Johnson said Grace, in both of its locations, recycles mostly polypropylene, but also recycles polystyrene, nylon, polycarbonate, PC/ABS and both high and low density polyethylene.
Grace offers a range of services including spotting trailers; shredding and grinding of purge, parts and baled plastics; and sorting partially assembled components, breaking them down and grinding.