Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 215

Entropex

Full Recovery
entropex continues to find new ways to recover
and recycle post-consumer plastics into raw
materials for new products. by chris petersen
Plastic is one of the most versatile
materials in the world, but it hasn't
been until relatively recently that it
was used to its fullest potential. For
many years, plastic containers were
manufactured, used once and then
sent off to landfills. It wasn't until
consumers and manufacturers started
to recycle plastic that the true benefits
of the material became fully realized,
and Entropex has been one of the
companies leading the way.
For more than 35 years, Entropex
has specialized in the reprocessing of
post-consumer and post-industrial
plastics, recycling used plastics and
resins into materials that can be
reused by manufacturers to create
new products. President Keith
Bechard says the company's initial
focus was on recycling specific resins
from refineries into materials used by
the agricultural industry. From there,
the company moved into processing
post-consumer plastics from detergent bottles and other products, and
today Entropex is one of the top suppliers of post-consumer plastics in
North America.
From its 180,000-square-foot facility in Sarnia, Ontario, Entropex
processes more than 80,000 tons of
plastic a year. As more consumers and
manufacturers become cognizant of
reducing their environmental impact,
Entropex continues to lead the way in
the development of processes that
divert more plastics from landfills.

Innovative Processes
According to Bechard, Entropex's
ability to develop new processes for
recycling plastic and resins has been
a significant component in the com-

pany's longevity. "Innovation is really what we rely upon for the success
of our business," he says. "We've
developed industry-leading technology in the recovery of non-bottle
rigid plastics."
Entropex
developed
the
RigidReclaim technology after a 33month development cycle and more
than $26 million in R&D expenditures. Bechard says this process
allows Entropex to recycle plastics
that previously were being sent to
China or straight to landfills, but now
it can recover those plastics and recycle them into valuable commodity
resins for use in other manufacturing
processes. "It's really quite an innovation," Bechard says, adding that
Ontario has seen a 24 percent
increase in rigid plastic recycling as a
result of this technology.

Increasing Need
Bechard says Entropex has benefited
greatly from the increased focus on
sustainability that has spread among
consumers and manufacturers. Many
of the world's largest manufacturers
have publicly committed to reducing
their environmental footprint within
the next two decades, and increasing
the use of post-consumer plastics in
products and packaging normally is a
big part of those strategies.
As this trend continues, Entropex
continues to grow. Bechard says the
company has grown by nearly 50 percent over the last two years. "I think
the challenge that we have most is
managing the growth of our business," he says.
Because the company is located in a
relatively small community, finding

Canada

the right people to help manage its
growth has been part of that challenge. However, Bechard says
Entropex's entrepreneurial culture
and strong leadership training program have gone a long way toward
making sure the company has the
internal strength to grow. "We develop our people with the right culture to
meet the challenges that we have,"
Bechard says.

Further Growth
The company's growth is expected to
continue well into the future.
Bechard explains that Entropex sees
growth developing through three
sources. First, it expects the sources
for materials to continue growing as
more people recycle non-bottle
mixed resins and the company continues to develop new processes for
recycling them. Secondly, Entropex
anticipates adding production capacity to meet the increasing customer
demands for recycled materials. The
third growth through new end-user
markets as more manufacturers use
recycled plastics.
"Companies are recognizing that
they need to improve the sustainability of the products and services that
they offer," Bechard says. mt

Industry Recognition
Entropex's innovative RigidReclaim technology not only
has allowed the company to process more than 110 million pounds of plastics that were not recoverable by conventional methods, it also helped the company win the
2013 Innovation in Plastics Recycling Award from the
American Chemistry Council. Entropex was one of three
companies chosen for the honor in 2013, and Bechard
says it was proud to have been chosen.
This is the first time that a Canadian company has
been selected for the award, which is open to plastics
recycling companies from across North America. The
American Chemistry Council noted the state-of-the-art
sorting, cleaning and processing methods that go into
the RigidReclaim system that allow Entropex to reclaim
and recycle plastic containers such as food tubs, lids and
thermoform packaging. More than 70 percent of these
plastics are not recoverable by conventional methods,
the company says.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 manufacturing-today.com

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