Jul. 21, 2017 – Andrew Adkins – The Daily Independent
HAVERHILL — PureCycle Technologies plans to open an advanced plastics recycling facility at the old Dow Chemical site in Haverhill and employ about 60 workers, executives announced Thursday.
The average starting pay will be between $40,000 and $50,000, according to Southern Ohio Port Authority Executive Director Jason Kester. Some operations are set to begin next summer, and the full-scale plan is set to open in 2020.
The facility will be the first of its kind to commercialize a new-age recycling process. Workers will convert dirty feedback stock into polypropylene of a virgin-like quality absent of the color, odor and other contaminants that hinder the success of existing recycling processes for polypropylene, according to a company spokesman.
Procter & Gamble, which is headquartered in Cincinnati, licenses the project to the company exclusively. P&G executives attended the official announcement, as did several other representatives from the private and public sector.
PureCycle CEO Mike Otworth, who lives in nearby Bellefonte, opened the event inside a vacant, 100,000-square-foot warehouse with an optimistic speech about the future of the region.
“We remember when this area was a prosperous, dynamic area, and we really relish the opportunity to make it that way again,” said Otworth.
Otworth is also an executive with PureCycle’s parent company, Innventure. Greg Wasson, the former CEO of Walgreens, is a co-founder of Innventure and also spoke during the announcement. “We have come together and created something incredible, and we are doing good while doing good business,” said Wasson, borrowing a phrase he said he learned from another business executive.
By we, Wasson was referring to the company, its investors and private sector and public officials throughout the region who helped land the company in southern Ohio.
Local investors include businessman Andy Glockner. Economic development groups, including the Southern Ohio Port Authority and the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. worked with Innventure and PureCycle for the better part of the last 12 months.
SOPA has agreed to issue up to $120 million in bonds for the project, Kester said.
Steve Alexander, the executive director of the Association of Plastic Recyclers, told the crowd PureCycle’s recycling process extends far beyond the scope of southern Ohio.
“This is a global impact project that you are undertaking,” Alexander said. “There is a huge unmet demand for recycled polypropylene.”
The APR has identified a demand of 1 billion pounds of recycled polypropylene in North America alone, and 720 million pounds of that demand is for ‘high-quality’ recycled polypropylene, according to Alexander.
The company’s process will “change the industry” by allowing brand companies in the marketplace to use more recycled content in their material than previously possible, he added.
The plant is estimated to produce 80 million pounds of recycled polypropylene annually.
Design work on the facility is underway, and construction is expected to begin later this year.
In his opening remarks, Otworth referenced other recent jobs announcement in the region, including that of Braidy Industries in Greenup County. Braidy plans to open its $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill in South Shore in 2020, the same year PureCycle plans to open its full-scale plant.
“I can say, with confidence, this area is on the way back,” Otworth said.