Jul. 21, 2017 – David Malloy – The Herald Dispatch
HAVERHILL, Ohio – A Chicago-based company, using a patented process developed by Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, announced plans Thursday to build a $120 million plastics recycling business at the former Dow Chemical site in Lawrence County.
PureCycle Technologies of Chicago will lease a 101,000-square-foot building that Dow gave to the Lawrence Economic Development Corp. last year. The company could employ 10 workers by 2018 and up to 60 by the end of 2020, according to a spokeswoman.
Jason Kester, executive director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority, said prior to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site that local economic development officials have been working on the project for the past 18 to 24 months.
“A lot of things came together,” Kester said.
The jobs are expected to pay about $50,000 per year, he said. The port authority plans to issue $120 million in bonds to help get the project up and running.
Mike Otworth, chief executive officer of PureCycle Technologies, said Procter & Gamble, local economic development officials and Andy Glockner, a local car dealer, all worked to help bring the project together.
“We hope this isn’t the largest project we do in this area,” Otworth said. “We’re deeply committed to this area. This area is on the way back.
“This is a case where a hundred-billion-dollar industry required new technology to meet a compelling, unmet need,” Otworth said. “Both manufacturers and consumers have signaled a strong preference for recycling plastics, which otherwise pollute oceans, landfills and other (places).
“We wouldn’t be here without them,” Otworth said of the Glockner family.
Glockner said his family has lived in the Portsmouth area for six generations and feel a responsibility and obligation to give back to the Tri-State community.
“We’re also big supporters of green technology,” he said.
Otworth said his parents and grandparents are Portsmouth natives.
“This is a big deal,” said Steve Alexander, chief executive officer of the Association of Plastics Recyclers. “This is a global impact project. It’s an unmet demand. This is going to change the industry.”
Kathleen B. “Kathy” Fish, Procter & Gamble chief technology officer, developed the patented technology. The process calls for used plastic bottles to be recycled, with the color, odor and other contaminants filtered out to produce a clear polymer that can be used in the manufacture of new plastics.
Plastics to be recycled can be brought to the site by rail or on barges along the Ohio River, she said.
Kester and Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp., worked together on this project and plan to work together on other economic development projects in western Lawrence County and eastern Scioto County, a 3,000- to 5,000-acre site they’re calling the Southern Ohio Industrial District.
“It’s wonderful to see the two counties unite,” Dingus said. “Together we can do this. We have great workers in this area.”
“This is good for Lawrence County,” said Bob Blankenship, a Hamilton Township trustee. “It will mean more jobs. It will help our tax base.”
This is the second of three buildings at the closed Dow Chemical site that have been put in use. Green EnviroTech Holdings signed a lease for a 23,000-square-foot building earlier this year for a carbon black finishing plant. The project is expected to bring 21 jobs to the site.
A 49,000-square-foot structure still is available at the site, Dingus said.