Governor Nikki Haley joined other officials in Ridgeland Thursday to welcome an environmentally-friendly packaging company to its new facility in Jasper County.
California-based Be Green Packaging plans to open a manufacturing plant in the area next year.
The company says it will invest $7 million and create 175 jobs at the new site. State Sen. Clementa Pinckney (D-Jasper) said it’s big news for a region nearing 10 percent unemployment, “People are excited. It’s 175 jobs over the next several years. We want to create momentum.”
Be Green makes packages for companies such as Whole Foods and Gillette using organic materials like bamboo and bulrush.
Pinckney said the area is a possible supplier of organic materials that Be Green’s CEO could also consider, such as sugar cane, “I grew up cutting sugar cane, so I can tell you what it is,” he joked, “It’s tough, it’s strong, and it’s something he may look into.”
Company CEO Ron Blitzer said Jasper County was a special opportunity for the manufacturer, “We saw it, we grabbed it, and now we’re taking advantage of being in the perfect place at the perfect time for a green sustainable business.”
Haley told those in attendance that Jasper County should be proud Blitzer chose them for the site of his company’s new factory, “He was smart enough to say, ‘where can I go where the people will appreciate us; where we can change the face of what environmentally-friendly companies can do?… And he chose Jasper County.”
The company is moving its production into an old mobile home factory. It currently manufactures its packages in China and ships them to the United States through Boston. Once the new factory opens, it will instead import materials through the Port of Charleston, and then distribute the finished products through the U.S.