Plastics scrap recycler InterGroup International Ltd. is riding a wave of growth that began late last year and is continuing on into 2012.
On May 8, InterGroup opened a 165,000-square-foot distribution center in Cleveland, located about three miles away from the firm's headquarters and processing plant in Euclid, Ohio. The new site employs 15 and will be able to handle more than 10 million pounds of plastic scrap per month, general manager Neil Gloger said in a phone interview.
The new location will coordinate pre-sorting and accumulation of scrap collection from Toronto, Detroit, Baltimore and Louisville, Ky. Employment at the site is expected to reach 40 by September, Gloger said.
The new site is needed because of increasing demand for repelletized and reground plastic scrap, he added. It's the most recent of several growth moves for InterGroup in less than a year. Those moves include:
* Opening a 30,000-square-foot recycling plant in Springfield, Mo., in September. The site employs five and is processing almost 2 million pounds per month. Gloger said the site is separate from the former Solo Cup Co. recycling plant in Springfield that sold three repelletizing lines to InterGroup last year.
* Installing those three lines at the Euclid plant. They're now in place, but the building's electrical infrastructure needs to be upgraded before they can be put into use.
* Plans to add a recycling plant in the Atlanta area during the third quarter of the year. Gloger said InterGroup will do this by acquiring its own building or by purchasing an existing recycler.
“There's plenty of demand for recycled material,” he added. “We're gaining market share.”
InterGroup posted sales of $14.5 million in 2011, almost double its total from the prior year. Sales for 2012 are on track to be more than $20 million.
Along with InterGroup's physical expansions, Gloger said he's just as proud of the firm becoming the first recycler accepted as a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. SPC is a nonprofit group based in Charlottesville, Va., whose members include several large plastics processors, materials firms and consumer-product companies. SPC “is dedicated to a more robust environmental vision for packaging,” according to the group's website.
InterGroup recently partnered with fellow SPC member Coating Excellence International of Wrightstown, Wis., on a video in which a cartoonist draws a sustainable packaging process flow chart. The video, which speeds up the artist drawing with markers on a whiteboard, beat out 12 other entries to win SPC's Best Video contest.
InterGroup's recent growth is taking place less than five years after an electrical fire burned down its original location in Warren, Ohio, destroying almost all of the firm's inventory of millions of pounds of plastic scrap. Shortly afterward, the economic recession hit, causing InterGroup to reduce its workforce to three sales reps and a single manufacturing employee.
The perseverance shown by Gloger and his employees paid off, however, allowing InterGroup to start doing business in Euclid in mid-2010. Today, the firm handles large amounts of polyethylene and polypropylene scrap, as well as some scrap from nylon and other engineering resins. Services offered include shredding, granulating and repelletizing.