Plastics recycler Envision Plastics is increasing production capacity of the company's EcoPrime brand of food-grade high density polyethylene by 50 percent through a multimillion-dollar expansion. This move will add millions of pounds of recycled resin to the market each year.
The company is installing a new production line at the company's Reidsville, N.C., facility where one EcoPrime line already is in place, said Roberto Fontanillas, vice president and general manager of Envision. There is also an EcoPrime line at Envision's Chino, Calif., plastics recycling plant.
The firm currently has the capacity to produce about 55 million pounds of Eco-Prime each year between the two locations, and adding a second line in North Carolina will add about 25 million to 30 million pounds annually, Fontanillas said.
Envision, which has been offering EcoPrime HDPE resin for years, has seen an increase in product interest that now justifies investment in a third line overall, he said. "The demand from the market and sales of Eco-Prime have been growing," Fontanillas said.
Along with the new production line, the new project includes new space for support equipment and additional silos for product storage. Envision will use existing space as well as build an expansion to accommodate the capacity.
Construction of the project actually started in January, but the company is only now revealing the work. Fontanillas estimates the line could be commercialized by the end of the year.
"For a number of years now, the demand from the market and sales for EcoPrime have been growing. We have a growing portfolio of customers that desire a secure supply of EcoPrime under contract," he said.
The general manager pointed to two public announcement examples regarding supply agreements — one with resin maker LyondellBasell and the other with consumer products company L'Oréal — when talking about increased demand for EcoPrime HDPE.
A portion of the production from the line now being constructed already is spoken for, but the general manager said there will be capacity for the open market and even the ability to switch resins as needed. "This new line that we're investing in will enable us to offer greater qualities of food-grade polypropylene as well," Fontanillas said.
"We have a growing portfolio of customers that are looking for high-quality PCR [post-consumer] solutions, fit for food-grade solutions. Even though everybody is not necessarily using EcoPrime for a food or a beverage container, they are looking for a really high-quality PCR product," he said.
"We're squarely focused at continuing to work hard to be a leader in this space," Fontanillas said. "We continue to work hard to innovate."
The company, which has produced 1.8 billion pounds of recycled resin since 2001, did not reveal an exact project cost. Expanded production will create a handful of new jobs, Fontanillas said.
Envision is a subsidiary of Altium Packaging, the former Consolidated Container Co.