Materials firm Mega Polymers Inc. is growing its recycling business and also plans to install its first compounding line early next year.
Romeoville, Ill.-based Mega was founded in 2008 by industry veteran Bret Garrison, who has more than 30 years of materials experience, including a 13-year stint with compounder RTP Co.
Mega currently brokers and distributes resin as well as offering recycling services and selling toll-produced compounds. The firm's recycling operations now include five grinders. Mega's work in that area has grown through its collaboration with Accumold LLC, a micro-injection molder based in Ankeny, Iowa.
In 2013, Mega recycled just over 16,000 pounds of plastic scrap for Accumold. By 2017, that amount had grown to more than 230,000 pounds.
But that leap wasn't an easy one for Mega to make. "We were encouraged to get into recycling, but I was leery about it," Garrison said. "Some of the recycling operations I had seen over the years looked like World War III."
Accumold executive Matt Iverson likewise wasn't assured of the project's success at first. "I joined Accumold in 2013 and was asked to start a recycling program even though I didn't know plastics," he said. "We had been selling some of our own scrap and were mixing some in a grinder, but we wanted to do more.
"The program got a significant boost when we started working with Mega, and it's now a massive program for us," he said.
Accumold President and CEO Roger Hargens said his firm "had been noticing from our customers in Europe and all over the world that sustainability is vital to health of companies, and is becoming one of differentiators."
"It only makes sense that Accumold does what it can to help recycle and protect the environment from both a moral perspective and financial," he added.
Accumold purchasing director Tom Murphy said that the firm "kept running into companies that were only interested in the most common materials and wanted truck load quantities. ... As a 'micromold' manufacturer. that was just not possible, or so we thought."
The program has been helped out by Accumold's use of high-end plastic resins, not commodity materials.
"You can say we're recycling snobs," Garrison said. "We only take on materials that we now we can recycle profitably.
"Recycling also fits neatly into our long-term strategy of becoming a more vertically integrated company," he added. "I can't tell you how grateful I am to Accumold for being our first recycling experience. If it would have turned out to be a worst-case scenario, I'm not sure I would have continued down that path."