Recycling Works Newsletter Fall 2018

RBAC's quarterly newsletter discusses current topics of interest to recycling businesses, including information on financing opportunities, commodity markets and new technologies.

In the Fall 2018 Recycling Works issue:

Milk Jugs Get a New Life With Polywood

Governor Roy Cooper announced on October 16 that POLYWOOD, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture made from recycled plastics, will create 384 jobs over five years in Person County. Headquartered in Syracuse, Indiana, the company is investing $35.3 million into North Carolina to open its second full scale production campus in Roxboro.

“Innovative companies like POLYWOOD show how North Carolina’s furniture industry can continue to adapt and succeed, thanks to our strong workforce,” said Governor Cooper.

POLYWOOD was founded by Doug Rassi and Mark Phillabaum in 1990 with the idea of taking milk jugs and recycling them into plastic lumber furniture. The company developed state-of-the-art technology to manufacture wood alternative lumber from recycled plastics to make low-maintenance durable outdoor furniture. 

The North Carolina facility will serve as a full manufacturing and distribution center consuming 34-40 million pounds of recycled HDPE plastic each year. The site will also house a reclamation center for other types of recycled plastics that will be processed, washed and sold to other plastics end users. 

The Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) worked with the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) and Person County Economic Development to support the company’s expansion to N.C. Contact Sandy Skolochenko at 919-707-8147 for more information.

Governor Roy Cooper and POLYWOOD CEO Doug Rassi during the Oct. 16 announcement.

Anti-Contamination Workshops for Community Recycling

The Carolina Recycling Association and N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS) will host two workshops in December to provide recycling professionals with the opportunity to participate in solution-based information sessions and discuss contamination reduction in the recycling stream. The workshops will provide tools, strategies and resources to combat contamination, along with recycling market updates and opportunities to network. 

Lunch will be provided, and space is limited. The two events will be in Greenville (Pitt County) and Newton (Catawba County) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

  • Dec 4: East Workshop - Bradford Creek Golf Course in Greenville
  • Dec 6: West Workshop - Catawba County Government Center in Newton

Please visit for registration and more information.

Accepting Applications for 2019 Recycling Business Development Grant 

The RBAC seeks viable, well-planned proposals that divert materials from the waste stream and create jobs from recycling businesses and nonprofit organizations for the 2019 Recycling Business Development Grant cycle. Applicants can request up to $40,000 of grant funds, and a 50 percent match is required. The application period ends at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1.  

Funding priority this year will be considered for projects that address single-stream material recovery facility upgrades, non-bottle plastics recycling processing, use of recycled non-bottle plastics or residential mixed paper in recycled product manufacturing, or printing of DEACS-designed and approved education materials (handouts/mailers/oops tags) for curbside recycling customers.

Contact Sandy Skolochenko at 919-707-8147 or Mike Greene at 919-707-8137 to learn more and visit for grant application materials.

Plastics Recyclers of the Carolinas - Join Us in Charleston!

The 2018 Carolina Plastics Recycling Council meeting will be collocated with the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) Summit in Charleston, South Carolina. Come meet your peers and discuss industry developments, impacts from China policies and recycling opportunities in the Carolinas. Speakers include the Association of Plastics Recyclers, RBAC, S.C. Department of Commerce, US Fibers, Custom Polymers, Bromley Plastics and other plastics industry representatives. This meeting is open to all plastics recyclers, local/state/federal government officials, recycling industry professionals and related interested parties.

Visit for more information and registration.

Recycling Business Connections 2018

Earlier this month, the Carolina Recycling Association and the RBAC hosted the 5th annual Recycling Business Connections networking event at Revolution Mill in Greensboro. The event attracted 85 participants representing a full spectrum of recycling companies from the Carolinas and the Southeast.

The networking portion of the evening, best described as “speed dating” for recycling businesses, gave participants the opportunity to meet a large number of contacts in one place. 

The event was sponsored this year by Company Wrench, Metaltech Systems, Coastal Wire, Republic Services and Sonoco Recycling.

Recyclers connect during the new “networking remix” at Recycling Business Connections 2018.

Announcements and Opportunities

  • Nov. 1: 2019 Recycling Business Development Grant applications are due to RBAC. Recycling businesses and nonprofits organizations are eligible to apply for grants to divert materials from the waste stream and create jobs. Contact Sandy Skolochenko at 919-707-8147 for more information. 

  • Nov. 2: 2018 Diesel Emission Reduction Grant applications are due to the N.C. Division of Air Quality. Individuals, businesses and organizations from the public and private sector are eligible to apply for grants to reduce diesel emissions. Example projects include repowering non-road construction or agricultural equipment with cleaner burning engines, converting vehicles to run on alternative fuels and repowering a locomotive.   

  • Nov. 6: Sustainable Materials Management: A Compliment or a Barrier to Recycling? Webinar from the Association of Plastics Recyclers. Learn about the basic principles of sustainable materials management and why recycling should remain a crucial element in its adoption. 

  • Nov. 12-14: Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) Summit in Charleston, South Carolina, will provide a platform to identify successes and challenges around fighting contamination, creating cohesive relationships, and improving markets. This premier event brings together influential industry leaders, policy makers, budget decision-makers, government officials and key recycling organizations. The Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council Annual Meeting will be collocated with the SERDC Summit on Nov. 12. 

  • The Natural Capital Investment Fund is partnering with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund and Mountain BizWorks to offer Access to Capital workshops across western North Carolina. These workshops are designed for western North Carolina small business owners looking to grow their operation or might need capital. It is an opportunity to hear from successful entrepreneurs about how they've accessed and used funding to grow their business. Events are free of charge and will be held: 

    • Nov. 6 in Cashiers from 4 – 6 p.m. 

    • Nov. 7 in Murphy from 4 – 6 p.m. 

    • Nov. 13 in Dillsboro from 4 – 6 p.m. 

The Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC) is a program of the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS) that provides technical, business and financial assistance to recycling companies.