Chinese firm to open plastics recycling operation in Alabama

Shanghai-based Roy Tech Environ Inc. has announced plans to open a plastics recycling facility in Grant, Alabama. The company decided in September 2017 that it needed to build production capacity in the United States to guarantee its factories in China would have ample material in light of the Chinese government’s prohibition on imports of postconsumer plastic scrap.

Matt Arnold, president of the Marshall County Economic Development Council, says the company has moved quickly to find a location and has secured a building. Arnold says the company will soon be installing equipment to allow the facility to process postindustrial plastic scrap.

Lily Zhang, CEO of Roy Tech Environ, formed the company nearly 20 years ago in Shanghai with her brother.

Arnold says the facility will have several stages of development and should be operational by the summer of 2018.

Zhang says the company will install grinders and shredders for five production lines in phase one of the Alabama plant buildout. In phase two, it will install pelletizing equipment. The company primarily plans to handle high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP) and polycarbonate (PC) that it will secure from existing customers.

Roy Tech has set a goal to process 20,000 metric tons by the end of its first year of operation in Alabama.

In a written statement to Recycling Today, Zhang says she realized three years ago that Roy Tech should start sourcing plastic scrap directly from the United States because of the high quality and ample quantity of the material available here.

Roy Tech then established a branch office in Huntsville, Alabama, about 30 miles away from Grant, to be close to major auto production facilities that generate plastic production scrap. The company has been shipping plastic scrap directly to its production plant in Shanghai from its Huntsville branch since then.

Roy Tech says it will ship the recycled plastic pellets it produces at its new plant in Grant to the company’s customers in Asia in addition to its own operations in Shanghai.

Rigid plastics and film recycling see growth in 2016

Recycling of nonbottle rigid plastics and wraps, bags and flexible film packaging (collectively known as film) grew by 10 percent in 2016, according to reports from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Washington. More than 1.46 billion pounds of rigid plastics and 1.3 billion pounds of film were collected for recycling in 2016.

The “2016 National Post-Consumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling Report” and the “2016 National Post-Consumer Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Report” were released at the annual Plastics Recycling Conference, Feb. 19-21 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The reports also show dramatic long-term growth in both plastics recycling categories, the ACC says. The volume of rigid plastics collected for recycling in 2016 is nearly 4.5 times greater than the volume collected in the 2007 inaugural report. Additionally, plastic film recycling has grown for 12 consecutive years and has more than doubled since 2005, when the first report was compiled.

“We are pleased to see the increase in plastic film and rigid plastics recycling in 2016 and the dramatic growth over the last decade,” says Steve Russell, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division. “America’s plastic makers are committed to supporting plastics recycling growth through improved infrastructure and education and believe that these efforts will continue to support the industry in future years.”

Both reports attribute the increase in material collected for recycling partly to demand from export markets. As a result of China’s policy restricting imports of scrap materials, including plastics, the plastics recycling value chain is working to develop stronger domestic end markets to continue the increase in plastics recovered for recycling, the ACC says.

The reports were based on an annual survey of reclaimers conducted by More Recycling, Sonoma, California.