One of the largest consumer products companies is helping launch a plastics recycling plant near Ironton, Ohio, that promises to change the face of polypropylene recovery.
Backers of the $120 million project, at the site of a former Dow Chemical Co. polystyrene plant that closed last year, plan to produce recycled resin that's virtually the same as new.
Procter & Gamble Co. is licensing its patented PP recycling approach to a company called PureCycle Technologies.
“One of the best ways to drive more recycled plastic is to enable the recycled plastic to be used in higher value ways and that's precisely what we're endeavoring to do,” said Mike Otworth, CEO of Pure Cycle.
“I would say it is a purification process,” Otworth said of the technology. “Although there is not a chemical reaction to the process, it is more of a physical transformation.”
PureCycle is purchasing 30 acres, including some existing buildings that will be used for offices and storage. The company also will construct processing equipment that will operate on an outside pad.
The project will be built in two phases, first a small-scale plant expected to open in January and a full-scale plant slated for 2020.
Starting smaller will allow the company to “understand the dynamics of the feedstock and what mix of feedstock provides us with the optimal mix,” the CEO said.
“The need is that there's a lot of different materials that you can use as feedstock. There's post-consumer and there's post-industrial feedstocks, and all of these different feedstocks have different physical properties,” Otworth said.
The plant will ultimately have the capacity to reprocess 100 million pounds of PP per year, resulting in 80 million pounds of output. Employment, at full production, will be about 65.
The former Dow location provides a “wish list” of existing amenities needed to start operations, including both rail and Ohio River access as well as proper electricity service and a building previously used for material handling, Otworth said. The location also is relatively close to P&G, based in Cincinnati.