SHANGHAI (April 27, 12:15 p.m. ET) — Hong Kong has been a critical transfer point in the stream of plastics scrap flowing from the Western world to mainland China — the largest importer and recycler of waste plastics. However, Hong Kong will soon start its first local recycling factory, as mainland's labor cost advantage fades.
Fukutomi Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-based plastics recycler, injection molder and machinery maker, said it has acquired a site of 82,000 square feet in Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate to construct the recycling plant and install various production lines.
The plant is expected to come on stream in 2013 and will be able to process 15,000 metric tons of recycled PET per annum, said Eva Chui, corporate communications manager. The food-grade recycled PET pellets will export primarily to the U.S. and Europe, she told Plastics News at Chinaplas 2012 in Shanghai.
“The monthly wage on the mainland used to be 1,000 yuan (US$159), but now it's already approaching 4,000 yuan (US$635),” she said. The company makes plastic sheet and food packaging, among other products, out of recycled materials and PLA resin in Shantou, China.
The company is trying to work with Hong Kong's environmental protection department and believes that the Hong Kong recycling plant will help ease the pressure of local landfill. It also plans to collaborate with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and establish a research center to examine plastics recycling technology.
Chui noted the shortage of quality plastics scrap on the mainland, and said Fukutomi has an advantage on sourcing waste plastics materials from aboard.
The company was founded by Steve Wong in 1984. It now employs more than 100 and claims more than HK$1.5 billion (US$193 million) in annual sales.