- Ecomelida, Inc., a subsidiary of China-based Zhangzhou Sanlida Environmental Technology Corporation, a Chinese company, plans to operate a carton recycling facility in Orangeburg County, SC, according to an announcement from Gov. Henry McMaster.
- The $52 million investment is expected to create 200 jobs. Ecomelida separates the different materials in cartons, including pulp, aluminum and plastic, to be recycled in different ways, such as plastic molds or for use in foams.
- The county received a $750,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to help with site preparation and building construction. "The green initiatives of this company and the recycling of waste are major wins for our environment and landfills across the county," Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. said in a statement.
According to the company, Zhangzhou Sanlida Environmental Technology Corporation is an importer and recycler of scrap paper and plastic. Given that China is cracking down on imports of scrap and paper, this soon-to-come plant in South Carolina stands among the first few new, major projects from companies affiliated with China. The other notable recent example is a yet-to-come plastic recycling plant in Alabama.
The company also says that, on average, it imports around 30,000 tons per year. Though the website does not indicate whether that number has changed in light of China's new policies. However it has not said whether its recycled material would be sold mainly to U.S.-based manufacturers or imported to China (which the Alabama announcement indicated could be the case by including a statement from the South Carolina Ports Authority.)
Ecomelida's Madam Chairman Xi Cheng said in a statement that her company, the U.S. subsidiary, is "thankful" for the financial investment coming from South Carolina and Oraneburg County. She and the company "look forward to years of continued success," according to the statement.
Derric Brown, vice president of sustainability for the Carton Council, said the South Carolina facility will have an estimated monthly capacity of 10,000 tons. The Carton Council was consulting with Ecomelida and was present at the gubernatorial announcement of the new facility. The latest estimates from the council say that 62% of households and 49 states have access to carton recycling.
"The Carton Council is extremely excited about this new facility and expects it to provide a new opportunity for utilizing cartons from communities east of the Mississippi River," Brown said in an emailed statement. "This facility will help elevate the end market options for cartons in the U.S."