Alltrista Plastics LLC, the New York-based medical product injection molder formerly known as Jarden Plastic Solutions and subsidiary of Jadex Inc., opened a new 45,000-square-foot plant in Puerto Rico in February.
The $40 million investment, which included equipment, tooling and the facility, was triggered by pharmaceutical customer demand in the territory, Mike Zaagman, president of Alltrista told Plastics News.
Alltrista picked out the site for the new plant in 2017, Zaagman said, just a couple of weeks before the Category 5 Hurricane Maria devastated the island, causing massive evacuations and leaving an estimated 2,975 people dead.
After a series of earthquakes, called "swarms,' caused power losses across Puerto Rico from December 2019 to January 2020, Alltrista sent generators and other supplies to its employees in need. But the molding company wanted to do more to help its new community.
Alltrista partnered with SER of Puerto Rico, a nonprofit organization that provides medical and educational services for children with autism and other special needs, and some of Alltrista's suppliers, to raise $50,000 at a benefit gala and official opening of the plant Feb. 27.
"With the adversity of the earthquakes, we got a different vision," Zaagman said. "Jadex is committed to all of the communities that we live and work in. We try to do a lot for children, it was natural for us to connect with a local children's charity.
"It shifted from a transactional event to one that was quite emotional," he said.
Chuck Villa, president of Jadex, said the new plant will employ about 50 people and produce blow molded pharmaceutical bottles, caps and single-piece child-resistant bottles, RX bottles, suture trays and blood filtration products.
In February, Jadex announced the new Alltrista brand, to take the place of Jarden Plastic Solutions, in a news release.
"The rebranding is part of a larger strategy to expand and evolve the business to a more environmentally sustainable platform that supports the growing needs of its customers," the release said. "The new brand identity reflects our attention on material sustainability and process excellence that will leave minimal impact on the environment."