|RECYCLING BUSINESS TURNS OLD BOTTLES INTO NEW JOBS|
|, Feb 22, 2012
Name of Project: ORPET, LLC plastics recycling operation
Name of Borrower: Pacific PET Recycling, LLC
Name of Lender: Columbia Community Bank
Loan/Grant Type: 80% Business and Industry Loan Guarantee, 2% guarantee fee
Loan/Grant Amount: $4,932,000
Date closed: September 28, 2010
Project Location: Warren, Oregon
Outline of Need:
ORPET is a new, privately owned company which will, after its April 2012 grand opening, serve as the only Oregon recycler of polyethylene terephthalate, commonly referred to as polyester or PET. Presently, Oregon recyclers bale recyclable plastics and ship them to China for processing. U.S. companies then repurchase the PET from China at market prices. Beginning this spring, however, ORPET will receive, sort, wash, dry, decontaminate, and refine the plastics in Oregon then sell the recycled PET flakes to domestic manufacturers who make plastic drinking bottles, packaging material, textiles and other uses.
According to project partner Dennis Denton, the key is utilizing a waste product as a valuable raw material that helps bring overseas jobs back to Oregon. “It has always been our vision to create jobs locally rather than export our raw materials,” Denton explained.
Oregonians have long stood out front in efforts to reduce landfill waste and increase recycling. In fact, Oregon was the first state in the nation to require deposits on cans and bottles with passage of the Oregon Bottle Bill in 1971. Before the bill’s passage, beverage containers made up as much as 40 percent of roadside litter. By 1979, that number had declined to six percent. In 2007 the Oregon State Legislature extended the five-cent deposit/refund system to include water bottles, increasing the volume of recycled bottles along with the pressure on the state’s existing recycling systems.
This year, Oregon will successfully close the PET recycling loop as this in-state facility goes online. In the U.S., demand for recycled PET is about three times greater than the supply, and ORPET will be able to provide a guaranteed stream of less expensive, recycled raw materials to Northwest businesses who are stimulating job growth in a green manufacturing niche.
How Rural Development Helped:
In June of 2010, ORPET received a, 80-percent Business and Industry (B&I) guarantee on a $4,932,000 loan purchase recycling equipment and finance a portion of the construction costs of the facility.
ORPET is a partnership of Pacific PET Recycling, which will manage operations, and the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, a group of Oregon’s top 62 beverage distributors (including Coke, Pepsi, Nestle, etc.). In addition to equity contributions from the owners, the project also received funding support from the Port of St. Helens, along with more than $1 million state energy tax credits.
The recently completed facility, located in the St. Helens area of northwest Oregon, will provide much needed jobs in an area with stubbornly high unemployment among their relatively large resource of trained and capable workers. An initial crew of 50 workers will process an estimated 14 million pounds of plastic in the company’s first year of operation. At full operation, the facility will recycle up to 30 million pounds of PET annually.
“It was our vision to create good paying jobs with full medical coverage,” said Denton. “Without the help of the USDA, we would not have been able to secure funding, due to the economic uncertainty at the time.”
In addition to the permanent jobs created at the ORPET facility, 93 subcontractors gained work through the facility’s construction and installation.
The project will also help reduce the Nation’s carbon footprint. Recycling plastic requires 95 percent less energy than making it from crude oil. For every ton of recycled material processed, the United States will eliminate the need to import 16.2 barrels of crude oil from other countries. Additionally, this project will reduce energy use with the local processing of materials and use of state-of-the-art, energy efficient equipment.
“This project has been a total team effort and example of good old American determination,” Denton said.