A new business making composite railroad ties from recycled plastics and fiberglass plans to have a workforce of 82 employees when it is fully operational in St. Louis.
Nice Rail Products LLC will recycle fiberglass from patent-pending technology and then process it with recycled plastics to make railroad ties trademarked as Evertrak.
The company is hiring about 25 workers this month with experience in extrusion, quality control and manufacturing.
"We set out to build a company that sparks greatness in others and is worthy of our collective potential as leaders," founder and CEO Tim Noonan said in a news release from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. "We are poised to disrupt hundreds of years of the status quo and do it in a way that is good for the planet."
Noonan is also an investor in Re-Poly, which is a St. Louis recycling facility focusing on bulk plastics, majority owned by QRS Recycling. QRS will supply Nice with used plastics, while Owens Corning, an insulation and roofing manufacturer, is supplying the fiberglass, according to the Nice website.
QRS will supply millions of pounds of recycled plastics to Nice, which will end up as standard crossties, turnout ties and specialty ties for bridges, tunnels and grade crossings.
"Our patent-pending technology to create true composite railroad ties will divert hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic and never before recycled waste fiberglass from the landfill, and after decades of service, Evertrak ties will be recycled into new ties," Nice Rail Products President Matt Moore said in a news release late last year about the pending product launch.
The company says its technology named "Nice Glass" can unlock the value of waste fiberglass.
The resulting composite ties can be interspersed with wood ties and are suitable in areas with termite infestations, water intrusion and soft sub-grades, according to Nice's business partner and distributor, Voestalpine Nortrak Inc.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Voestalpine VAE GmbH of Austria, Nortrak provides design and manufacturing solutions to railroad customers in industrial, passenger transit and Class I sectors across North America. The subsidiary is based in Richmond, British Columbia, and has six U.S. plants and one in Mexico, according to its website.
Nortrak CEO Dave Millard said Evertrak is a great fit with the company's product line of special trackwork, concrete crossties and concrete turnout ties.
"The partnership with Nice Rail Products provides superior production technology and an excellent source of recycled glass fiber and recycled plastics," Millard said in the November 2017 release. "This is what makes the Evertrak tie so robust and able to withstand the rigors and installation and years of service in the harshest conditions."
Company officials at both Nice and Nortrak declined to offer an update about their new business plans.
"We are in the process of commissioning our facility" and will release more information in the future, a Voestalpine spokesman said in a March 6 email to Plastics News.