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Du Pont, Waste Management to Build Plastic Recycling Plant

December 13, 1989

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A $5 million plant to recycle plastics now mostly buried in landfills will open here in the spring in a joint venture between Du Pont Co. and Waste Management of North America Inc.

Known as the Plastic Recycling Alliance, the 50-50 venture would demonstrate, first, the companies’ commitment to recycling and, second, that household plastics collected at curbside can have a new life, officials of the two firms said Tuesday.

They said they plan to build the concept into an environmentally safe, nationwide trash disposal network.

Nicholas Pappas, Du Pont executive vice president, and Waste Management President William Hulligan said the 70-employee plant is the first that completes the recycling loop - from picking up trash to turning it into new products like baseball gloves, park benches and home siding.

″Our plant is a very clean process,″ Pappas said. ″It doesn’t affect the environment at all.″

Other firms operate similar plastic recovery plants, notably in South Carolina and New Jersey, but none is involved in trash collection.

If the plant succeeds as expected - handling up to 40 million pounds of residential-generated plastic annually the first few years - another facility will open later next year in the Midwest at a site to be selected.

″Future recycling facilities will be located in areas where the joint venture can purchase materials from curbside and deposit return programs throughout the United States,″ Pappas said, noting that Waste Management is the largest collector of trash in the world while Du Pont is one of the largest plastic makers.

The two executives said the joint venture will have a total capacity of 200 million pounds from various trash sources by 1994. Du Pont is headquartered in Wilmington, Del., and Waste Management has its base in Oak Brook, Ill.

Pappas envisioned a minimum of three plants. If enough new product is produced in what he called an infant industry the venture might sell to other companies besides Du Pont, which has been recycling industrial plastics for about a decade.

″After the plastic materials are delivered, the venture sorts, cleans and reduces them to plastic flake, a usable raw material for processing by Du Pont,″ Pappas said.

″Du Pont’s requirement for raw materials for use in attractive new products assures the joint venture of a market and it assures Du Pont of a steady and reliable source of feedstock,″ Hulligan said.

Mayor W. Wilson Goode, praising the site selection, said Philadelphia today spends almost $65 million for solid waste disposal. A sound trash recycling program for which there is a market can save the city money, he said.

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