Goodwill store exterior

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan will partner with recycled-plastics product maker HydroBlox. | Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock

A new plant in western Michigan will recycle recovered plastic from Goodwill into stormwater drainage infrastructure.

The joint venture between Pittsburgh-based HydroBlox Technologies and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan will manufacture 100% recycled “planks” or “noodles” of porous plastic that can filter and direct the flow of water. Hydroblox uses them in road and trail projects, retaining walls, hydroponic farms, solar fields and green roofs, among other applications.

According to a press release, site selection and equipment provisioning for the Muskegon-area manufacturing facility are underway.

“HydroBlox checks all the boxes for us in terms of evaluating a new startup,” said Nick Carlson, business development director at Goodwill Industries of West Michigan. “Recycling unwanted plastic into useful, environmentally friendly stormwater products will reduce Goodwill landfill fees, provide good jobs, while generating revenue to support Goodwill employment and training programs.”

HydroBlox uses low-grade, commingled and mixed-color plastic in its products. The press release said the manufacturing process does not use glue, binders or any hazardous materials and does not exhaust fumes or wastewater.

“What separates HydroBlox from virtually every other ‘green’ product or recycling facility is that we have properly commercialized the output from our conversion technology,” HydroBlox Technologies CEO Ed Grieser said in the release. “In other words, the output of our planks and noodles out-perform the existing products we are replacing at a lower cost. Customers may buy HydroBlox products because they believe in recycling, but they return as repeat customers because of our product performance.”

Based in the Pittsburgh area, Hydroblox moved into a larger processing facility in 2021, allowing it to process 1 million pounds of plastic per week. The company started over a decade ago and mostly handles post-industrial PP film, large HDPE pipes and LLDPE boat wrap.

More stories about processors