Costa Rican recycler and extruder Recyplast SA, which collects and reuses plastics from banana farms, may expand its product offering, and is considering buying new machinery.
General Manager José Miguel Ramírez Masis is attending the Plast 2018 international plastics exhibition in Milan, Italy, he told Plastics News by telephone May 28.
"The trip is related to the plant's possible production capacity expansion," he added by email. "The size of the investment in machinery has not been defined."
He declined to discuss specifics about the type of machinery he will be looking at.
Siquirres-based Recyplast has collected and recycled plastic waste from Central America's fruit industry for the past 25 years, converting it into corner boards which are used to reinforce shipping pallets. Recyplast has nine extrusion lines, Ramírez said.
"We are considering an expansion of the corner boards and making new products," Ramírez said in a Spanish-language interview.
Currently Recyplast, which employs 105 full-time workers, produces 21 metric tons of plastic materials per day, enough to make 44,000 pallet corner boards for 500 fruit containers, co-owner Dole Food Co. Inc., of Westlake Village, Calif., said in a news release.
Del Monte Foods Inc., of Walnut Creek, Calif., and flexible packaging manufacturer Corporación Yanber SA, of San José, Costa Rica, are Recyplast's other two owners. Dole, Del Monte and Yanber buy all Recyplast's products, Ramírez said.
Located in the province of Limón, the company's Siquirres facility pioneered the collection and recycling of used field plastics in banana growing operations in Costa Rica, Dole said.
According to Ramírez, 80 percent of the plastic recycled by Recyplast comes from Costa Rica and includes domestic waste.
"As Recyplast has grown, the negative impacts related to plastic use and disposal have subsided in Costa Rica," Dole added. "These positive results have been extended throughout Central America as the recycler now imports waste from Guatemala and Nicaragua and soon Honduras."
Renato Acuña, President of Dole Fresh Fruit, was present at Recyplast's 25th anniversary celebrations in April.
"This is a great example of social responsibility. It is clear that the leadership, dedication, and imagination demonstrated here are needed to respond to the increasing demands of our society," he said.
Recyplast has assumed the responsibility of educating Costa Ricans on the importance of recycling by visiting farms, schools and universities to spread the word and opening its facilities to public inspection, Ramírez said.