A recent $34,000 grant from Fluor-B&W Portsmouth to foster area economic growth will help Geo-Tech Polymers expand their facility where recycled plastic has become the new black gold. Geo-Tech Polymers has pioneered their technology to repurpose post-industrial and post-consumer plastics for all types of industries. They successfully operated a plant in Westerville, Ohio, for nearly a decade before opening their Waverly facility in 2013.
Geo-Tech’s cost-effective process involves removing various coatings and contamination from plastics such as inked designs on everyday yogurt/food containers, paint from automotive parts, and dirt and printing from common flowerpots to prepare recovered plastic for reuse. No harsh chemicals or solvents are used and the water-based technique is environmentally friendly. Approximately 30,000 pounds of plastic can be processed at a time, without degradation.
“The technology is very flexible. We can even remove the coatings and film from CDs and DVDs,” Chief Executive Officer Ron Whaley said.
Several types of plastic are sorted, cleaned, and re-pelletized into 1/8 inch resins that can then be melted and molded by manufacturers into useable materials for high-end applications.
Waverly native and Plant Manager Gordon Jones said they plan to employ 50 people at the facility.
“This is not just a business, it’s a little personal because it’s where I’m from,” Jones said.
Steam rises from the extruder where plastic is melted into long, licorice-like strands. While being pulled through a trough of water, the plastic cools and is fed through a pellitizer where it is cut into smaller pieces. The pellets move along the assembly line, where they defy gravity as they’re vibrated up a metal spiral to be dried.
“We are proud to support Geo-Tech in their recycling mission that will bring more jobs and opportunities to the area, “ Deputy Project Manager Bob Nichols said. “Not only will they be getting plastic off the streets and saving thousands of barrels of oil every year, but they’ll also be employing people in our community and will be using cutting-edge technology.”
Geo-Tech estimates that they will be able to produce 20 million pounds of recycled plastic a year, saving 110,000 barrels of oil that would normally be used in making new plastic. Compared to the Westerville plant, they’ll be able to quadruple the amount of plastic that is processed at the Waverly location, which is housed in the former Mill’s Pride facility. They plan to expand their current 50,000 square-foot facility with the money they received from Fluor-B&W’s Community Commitment Plan. They will be operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Geo-Tech is owned by Wastren Advantage, Inc., a waste management and recycling services company.
“We’re grateful for the support Fluor-B&W has provided to another local company to help expand this operation,” Pike County Commissioner Harry Rider said. “This is a very positive investment in our community, both economically and environmentally.”
Fluor-B&W is the U.S. Department of Energy’s contractor for the decontamination and decommissioning of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. Part of the company’s mission is a commitment to improving the economy of southern Ohio by reinvesting in emerging businesses in the communities surrounding the Cold War-era plant.