Flint, MI—ACI Plastics has unveiled a new facility for processing recycled plastics in Flint.
On Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, the company launched its roughly $10 million recycled plastics processing site, located at 2000 Bagwell St., on the southeast side of the city.
Scott Melton, ACI Plastics president, said the facility will process roughly 24 million pounds of post-consumer plastics annually. He added that the company will create roughly 25 to 30 new jobs and prioritize hiring Flint residents to fill them.
“We like going to sleep every night knowing that we are not only doing something to help the environment by recycling millions of pounds of scrap plastics, but we’re also providing a good living for many employees while enjoying a successful business,” Melton said during a Feb. 6 press conference.
In an interview, Melton described post-consumer plastics as waste products such as plastic mattress bags or an Amazon package. These plastics are compacted into bales for shipping, and, at the ACI Plastics facility, the bales are shredded and materials’ contaminants are removed, he said.
“We’re going to put it through a series of processes to start to purify it,” Melton told Flint Beat. “We want to sink out any impurities in there. We want to wash off the labels and the glue that might be on there. Finally we’ll put it through a pelletization process … and it comes out [as] a nice, clear pellet.”
ACI Plastics is partnering with another company to then distribute the pellets, which, Melton explained, can ultimately be made into products such as grocery bags.
Melton said ACI Plastics purchased the facility’s site in 2010, using it for storage and production. The company then began converting the site into a recycled plastics processing facility in 2021.
The new facility’s equipment cost roughly $8 million and about another $2 million was dedicated to renovating the building’s infrastructure, such as lighting, office space and parking lot, Melton said.
According to a press release from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the project was partially funded by a $150,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a $300,000 Renew Michigan grant from EGLE.
At the press conference, Dan Eichinger, EGLE’s acting director, said the state aims to increase recycling rates to 30 percent by 2025 and 45 percent by 2030. His department had previously noted that recycling rates were on the rise, having jumped to 19.3 percent in 2022 up from 14.25 percent before 2019.
“Michiganders are recycling now more than ever before, and it’s because of the technological advances and tremendous work being done by companies like ACI Plastics,” Eichinger said at the facility’s unveiling.
Tony McGee, plant manager at ACI Plastics’ recycled plastics processing site, was born and raised in Flint. McGee told Flint Beat he is heartened to see such a facility in the city.
“It’s awesome, because who would have thought something like this would be here,” McGee said. “To help the environment, that’s a big deal.”
According to Melton, the new facility will provide wages ranging from $15-20 per hour and operate 24/7 by summer of this year.