A company from China plans to spend $52 million to construct an aseptic carton recycling plant in South Carolina that will create an expected 200 jobs.
Zhangzhou Sanlida Environmental Technology Corp. will import material from the United States that will be reprocessed by a new facility in Orangeburg, S.C., through its U.S. subsidiary Ecomelida Inc., according to state officials.
The company expects to start hiring people during the third quarter and plans to start operations during the fourth quarter.
"Utilizing creative processes to separate pulp, plastic and aluminum from soft drink cartons and other products, the company's recycled plastics are used in foam, cast plastic parts and more," according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Aseptic cartons include layers of polyethylene, aluminum and paper that keeps its contents fresh and shelf-stable.
The design has been lauded because it allows for easier transportation and storage without refrigeration.
Tetra Pak, which invented the aseptic carton, reports its most common carton has a 22 percent PE content with 74 percent paper and 4 percent aluminum.
The aluminum layer serves as a light, flavor and oxygen barrier and PE is used as both a moisture barrier and adhesion for the aluminum and paper layers.
The recycling company said it already has worked with aseptic packaging makers Sig Combibloc, Elopak and Tetra Pak in the United States, Europe and South Africa.
Orangeburg County is receiving a $750,000 rural infrastructure fund grant from the state to assist with site preparation and building construction.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development, a state program, also approved unspecified job development credits for the project.
This is the first location in North America for the company.
"Today marks another chapter for our company as we invest in this new Orangeburg County plant. We are thankful for the assistance we have received from the state and county governments and look forward to years of continued success," Ecomelida Madam Chairman Xi Cheng said in a statement.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, in a statement, called the 200 new jobs "a tremendous, positive impact to that community."
Attracting a company based in China to South Carolina is a win for the community, one county official agreed.
"Diversity makes us stronger in culture as well as in products made. The green initiatives of this company and the recycling of waste are major wins for our environment and landfills across the county," Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. said in a statement.