Plastic film recycling plant to open in Salina

Plastic film recycling plant to open in California

By Bobby Elliott, Plastics Recycling Update

Capitalizing on the recent flurry of single-use plastic bag bans in the state of California, Command Packaging is preparing to open a 200,000-square-foot ag-plastic film recycling facility in Salinas to produce reusable shopping bags.

Doing business under the name Encore Recycling, the plant will begin operations in October 2013.  According to a company press release, Encore Recycling will partner with corporate and independent farmers to collect more than 100 million pounds of agricultural plastic scrap per year.  All of it will go toward making new reusable plastic bags, known as smarterbags, a focus Command Packaging and Encore Recycling CEO Pete Grande believes will be a sign of things to come for the state and the entire country.

"Encore Recycling is leading the way to help California create the standard for sustainable and closed-loop recycling systems throughout the U.S.," Grande stated in the press release.  "People love plastic.  It's part of our everyday lives. Instead of trying to eliminate it, we need to create a 'smarter' plastic."

The announcement comes on the heels of sweeping single-use plastic bag bans in counties and cities throughout the Golden State.  Los Angeles was the latest major city to ban single-use bags, a move that has inspired several other large American cities including New York and Chicago to consider similar moves.  With the need for reusable bags on the rise, companies like Encore are hoping to become front-runners in the new market.

There are also high hopes for the Salinas site to ease unemployment in the area.  An Encore spokesperson says the site will eventually employ nearly 500 workers once the plant is at full capacity.  For now, the company will add 40 employees when it opens its doors in October and more than 100 by 2014. Salinas Economic Development Director Jeffrey Weir told Plastics Recycling Update: "We are absolutely pleased that they received approval from the county. They are making a huge commitment and investment." Unemployment in Salinas, according to Weir, hovers around 25 percent, with much of the economy driven by agriculture.

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