China's decision to crack down on plastics recycling imports will mean dozens of jobs in rural Georgia.
UPT Group Inc. is planning on transforming a former frozen foods plant in Montezuma, Ga., into a plastics recycling facility that will produce finished pellets that can then be exported to China.
Operation National Sword, concerned with pollution and the quality of materials, effectively shut the door on most plastic exports to China where processing of imports had taken place.
Some of that processing now will take place at the former frozen foods processing plant that currently is being transformed to handle plastics.
Gerald Beckum is executive director of the Macon County Chamber of Commerce and Development Authority. He said the facility, which includes multiple buildings covering about 250,000 square feet, had fallen into a certain degree of disrepair since closing five years ago.
Plans are to have the plastics company operating by the first of the year, he said.
"With all the equipment already here and sitting in one of the buildings," said Beckum, he believes the timeframe is realistic.
The concrete buildings still need some repair, including roof work, and power needs to be restored to the site that had been vandalized to some degree while being closed.
"This facility had just sat, like may across rural America, it has just sat there and grown up in weeds for the last five, six years," Beckum said.
"I think it's a doable thing. They are already unloading truckloads of plastic. The raw material will be here when the machinery is ready," he said.
Local development authorities have been working with Song Lin, CEO of UPT Group, for about 18 months on the project.
"They actually have the equipment already in the building. They will take the plastic and degrease it and wash it and clean it and turn around and pelletize it," Beckum said.
"Many of the old plastic recyclers would just chip it up and put it on a pallet in bulk form and set it to China. As you know, China has quit taking that kind of material. That's what the difference will be with this company," he said.
A company called XTJ Plastic Recycling Inc. in China will purchase UPT Group's output in Georgia, Beckum said.
The former food plant closed in 2013 after Allens Inc., a vegetable canning company, declared bankruptcy in 2013.