Hilex Poly, a South Carolina based company that recycles plastic bags, is located in Hartsville and as the company continues to grow, they expect to bring more jobs to the Palmetto State.
Hilex Poly operates the world’s largest closed loop recycling plant out of North Vernon , IN which allows them to partner with supermarkets, retailers and restaurants creating a better business model and, what the company hopes to be a cleaner environment. These businesses encourage their customer to bring their plastic bags back to the store where Hilex Poly collects them and recycles them. General Manager Mark Daniel says the industry is moving towards using even more recycled goods.
“We’re very consciously going to go to market with higher recycled content,” said Daniel. “The industry has made an announcement that we want to get to 40 percent content in recycled bags, with 25 percent of that being post-consumer recycled content, by the year 2015.”
Daniel says the new facility has allowed the company to grow. “In 2004, we built the North Vernon recycling facility. The Board of Directors, in June, approved the capital to double the size of that so we can–we recycled about 30 million pounds of consumer polyethylene film since the facility opened–and now we can double that,” he said.
He says that plastic bags can be environmentally friendly. According to Daniel, “The environmental movement against plastic bags was really based on a lot of myths and is based in an emotional discussion. When presented with the facts, it’s a compelling argument when you start to take a look and compare it to maybe a paper bag where it takes seven truckloads of paper bags to equal the same amount of one truckload of plastic bags.
“So there is a tremendous weight advantage in the plastic bags.”
Daniel says the potential for large growth is there. “An industry publication came out, there was about 840 million pounds of plastic bags and wraps recycled and collected and that was an increase of 24 or 25 percent over the prior year,” said Daniel.
“The figures just haven’t come out from Commerce yet for 2008. It’s a huge growth industry and the more we can get the consumers educated in bringing their materials back to the stores, there is more demand for this material then supply.”