News Column

New Macon Recycling Businesses May Mean More Jobs

June 12, 2013

A new recycling business has moved into a Macon warehouse, and along with a sister company that began operation here last year, has set a goal to create usable products out of all the material it brings in.

The two companies plan to employ more than 100 people by the end of the year.

Go Green Plastics LLC recently set up operations in a building at 4345 Confederate Way. It takes in plastics and other materials, separates it from any labels and liquids, shreds it, processes it and turns it into pellets that will be recycled back into usable items, said T.M. "Chuck" Davis, chairman and CEO of TMD Technologies Group, the Spartanburg, S.C.-based parent company of Go Green Plastics.

"We take that material, let's say from plastic bottles, make pellets, which go back to the beverage companies to make new bottles again," Davis said.

The business also plans to manufacturer multi-layer absorbent pads, such as the type moving companies and furniture manufacturers use to wrap furniture, he said.

Another subsidiary of TMD Technologies, Go Green Bioproducts LLC on Riggins Mill Road, processes any liquids -- including soda, sugary drinks, water -- collected from beverage containers.

"We have developed a separation process by which we separate the sugar from the water in those liquids," Davis said. "The water is sold -- it doesn't go down the drain -- and the sugar is sold. (The sugar) will eventually be made into higher-end ethanol products like pharmaceutical-grade ethanol. ... It's much more refined and processed than what's used in fuel products."

Higher-end ethanol is used in products such as cosmetics and mouthwash, he said.

"Go Green Bioproducts is a zero discharge company. Everything we take in we sell as a commercial product," Davis said. "If we take a glass (soda) bottle in, we crush the glass, we separate the liquids, we sell the sugar, we sell the water, caps we sell. The glass goes back to a glass manufacturer to be recast back into glass product. ... Ninety-nine percent of everything is recycled."

Davis said he has enjoyed working with Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission, in getting these businesses up and running.

"He's just been a real treat to work through," Davis said. "He really provided a lot of advice and help as we worked through things.

Topping said he's excited about what the businesses will do.

"I think this gives us a great opportunity not only in new jobs, but also the process they do will keep stuff out of landfills and will put them to better use," he said.

Topping said he is talking with the company about possible tax incentives that may be available through state and local governments because it chose to locate here.

"We will be talking about a package of incentives with them, because they had the opportunity to do this facility in Florida and South Carolina," Topping said.

Real estate broker Art Barry, a partner with Coldwell Banker Commercial Eberhardt and Barry Inc., said he showed Davis several buildings in the area, but that he liked the amount of road frontage on Confederate Way and the proximity to Interstate 16.

"What Chuck is doing really does help the economy and help the ecosystem, too," Barry said.

Davis said the Go Green businesses were created after three Middle Georgia businessmen -- Dan Young, Tony Heath and Ryan Pendergast -- asked him to get involved after they tried to get the recycling concept off the ground.

"They needed resources," Davis said. "There was a building, some equipment, but nothing was running. ... So we built the company really from scratch."

The three local men are minority owners of the Go Green businesses and hold management positions. Young is general manager of the operations, Heath is plant manager at Go Green Bioproducts, and Pendergast is plant manager at Go Green Plastics.

Go Green Bioproducts opened in June 2012, "but it's really just starting to grow," Davis said. The business has about 50 employees now and expects to add another 50 by the end of the year.

Go Green Plastics has recently began operations and has about five employees, and it is expected to add about 20 more by the end of 2013, Davis said.

Anyone interested in a job at either business may apply at the individual businesses, he said.

Go Green Bioproducts is expected to move soon, but not far away. It is in "a very, very old building" at 5945 Riggins Mill Road, Davis said.

"We are in the process of negotiating to buy another large manufacturing building on Joe Tamplin (Industrial Boulevard)," he said. "It's a much newer building and gives us a better face for the company as we go forward because our clients will be the largest of the beverage companies and some of the largest packaging companies in the world."

Future plans also include the installation of a bottling plant at the Go Green Bioproducts facility, then the company will begin bottling water under a Go Green private label, he said.

"It will be for (agricultural) and commercial uses, such as water going into hatcheries for the poultry industry, into aquaculture, different things like that," Davis said. "It's a very highly processed water. ... It's a very pure water."

Davis said he's concerned about the way a lot of people think about water use and water discharge in this country.

"One of the issues we have to face is water is a real problem for a lot of reasons," he said. "The stark reality of it is that water, whether it's is going through a beverage plant or going through a car wash, in the end it's all going to have to be reused. The days of just discharging all the water, ... those days are over with. There is just not enough for the cities and country to continue to grow on all new water. Water is going to have to be recycled."

Another issue is keeping recyclable materials from ending up in landfills.

"At Go Green Bioproducts today, we have the capacity to repossess about a half million pounds a week of plastic material back into a reusable products that would normally go into a landfill," Davis said. "Whether it's aluminium, it's glass, it's plastics, there are huge amounts that are not going to the landfills."



Source: (c)2013 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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