In May 2010, Mountain Valley Recycling (MVR), a high sustainable plastic resins manufacturer, unveiled plans to set up a plastic recycling plant in Frankfort, Kentucky, US. The $9.2m facility was officially opened in August 2010. The new plant is housed in a 220,000ft² building that was previously used by Bendix, a car parts manufacturer. It processes around 100 million pounds of plastic a year.

Kentucky was chosen because of the support offered by the local and state governments. The presence of a local skilled workforce was also a key driver in choosing the site.

In November 2010, MVR announced it was to buy the assets of its sister company NextLif, a Florida-based sustainable solutions provider. MVR is also planning to open a new plastic recycling plant in the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan, at an investment of $20m.

Processing waste at the Kentucky-based plastic recycling plant

"In November 2010, MVR announced it was to buy the assets of its sister company NextLif, a Florida-based sustainable solutions provider."

The plant uses MVR’s recycling technology to process about 100 million pounds of post-consumer polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene and terephthalate waste annually.

The processed plastic is converted into 100% recycled resin. These resins have properties comparable to virgin PP and PS.

The recycling process removes contaminants such as paper, rubber and foam. Other impurities such as fabric, stickers, adhesives and metals are also removed.

The plastic is cleaned, melted and then filtered before it is separated by resin type and colour. The produced resin is sold in the form of pellets to manufacturers of plastic products.

MVR purchases the plastic required for the plant from retailers and material recovery facilities. The company uses lean manufacturing techniques to improve the efficiency of its production process and help reduce the plant’s carbon footprint.

Equipment used at MVR’s facility

The facility is equipped with six recycling lines. The plant had commenced its operations with three production lines. The lines are fitted with wash and sort lines, grinders and extruders to produce recycled resin. Advanced sorting, cleaning and pelletising equipment is also installed at the plant.

Some of the equipment was sourced from MVR’s now defunct Morristown facility.

Financing and benefits of Mountain Valley Recycling’s plant

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority granted $1m in tax benefits for MVR. The company can earn the incentive as corporate and wage assessment credits.

"MVR is also planning a new plastic recycling plant in the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan, at an investment of $20m."

MVR was also awarded a $1m Community Development Block Grant by the Department for Local Government.

The plant is built to meet the growing demand for sustainable resins from consumer product manufacturers. The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved two types of resin manufactured by MVR for food contact.

Once the facility becomes fully operational, MVR will become the second-biggest employer in the state. About 360 jobs, with an annual payroll of $11.4m, are expected to be created by the project within two years.

The recycled resins will also provide environmental benefits. About 50m pounds of recycled plastic resin produced by the company is equivalent to 275,000 barrels of oil in carbon dioxide emissions.

The facility will also house a water treatment plant to reduce the usage of source water.