New local business could reduce strain on landfills

Dec. 20, 2012 @ 09:24 AM

Manufacturing and environmentalism are sometimes mentioned as being mutually exclusive, but for a plant that began operations in Sanford about two weeks ago, the opposite is said to be true.

Kurt Duska, president of EPI Recycling Solutions, bills his company’s new Sanford plastic recycling operation as an addition that will reduce strain on local landfills by re-purposing and recycling plastic that is otherwise bound for the garbage. 

With machinery that can process up to 1 million pounds of plastic a month, Duska said his company — based in Erie, Pa., with the Sanford expansion that opened in April and began processing work recently — will be looking to take plastic waste from all sorts of local enterprises and transform it into pellets that can be sold for use in products like trash bags and other goods.

Duska said the company can work with a wide range of clients, from hospitals and colleges to restaurants and big box retail stores. The facility can process everything from large buckets to thin wraps, he said, making the company’s services available to a wide range of entities that he said could even save money working with EPI.

“I can go into companies that were paying to throw out plastic, and I can work with them to take that for free ... remove their disposal cost and reduce their environmental footprint,” he said.

The company now has four employees working in its 30,000-square-foot Sanford facility, Duska said. But by the end of January, he wants to hire about six more workers, giving the plant the ability to work three shifts around the clock.

And although the company’s vision isn’t to become a major employer, Duska did tell industry news site www.plasticsnews.com in late November that this plant represented a “long-term investment in North Carolina.”

Crystal Morphis, CEO and founder of Creative Economic Development Consulting, the group directing the Lee County Economic Development Corporation in an interim basis, said a new company investing in Sanford is always good news. She said since the state has begun a program focusing on turning scrap material into usable goods, companies like this might sprout up more frequently in the future.

“We’re seeing more companies like this grow and expand — companies that are reducing waste and taking on new materials and working with different industry sectors,” she said.