For Envirolastech Inc. a place to manufacture its proprietary recycled post-consumer thermoplastic building materials may be ready by the end of the year.
The company received approval April 26 from the St. Charles, Minn., City Council to move ahead with an incentive plan that will enable it to obtain a 4-acre parcel in the Chattanooga Innovation Park.
“We're just finishing up the preliminaries to build a manufacturing plant,” said Paul Schmitt, one of the principals in Envirolastech.
Still ahead is a public hearing to complete the deal. The company also is waiting for the University of Iowa to complete a feasibility study in the next few weeks. It is hoping to break ground in June.
Schmitt, an inventor and founder of the company, has been working on ways to recycle post-consumer materials including plastics, glass, and other mineral fills to produce thermoplastic building materials for wood-alternative lumber, siding and blocks.
He said the products have undergone field trials for about 10 years and that they are ready to be commercialized. Schmitt added that he has been working on the material since the 1990s.
“We use garbage — everything sitting in the landfill — and we are able to control the physical properties of the plastics,” Schmitt said.
He said Envirolastech's proprietary process allows it to match or exceed properties of wood or concrete. Its products also don't get brittle in cold temperatures.
The company won the Minnesota Cup in the Clean Technology category in 2012. It showcased its thermoplastic compound pellets at the show. The state competition had more than 100 entrants in six categories.
Envirolastech principal owners include three residents of Rochester, Minn., which is about 20 miles from St. Charles. They include Schmitt; CEO Jeffrey Mintz; and Geno Wente, the director of logistics.
Schmitt said St. Charles was chosen for its location and because it is near Winona State University, which has a polymer engineering program.