- Envirolastech, a startup that turns waste into construction materials, will finally be building its first facility after many years of testing the technology. The approximately $3 million facility will be located in St. Charles, MN, as reported by the Star Tribune.
- Using proprietary technology, Envirolastech can process post-consumer plastic or glass into thermoplastic construction products such as waterproof decking or siding. The company won a clean technology award for its concept in the 2012 Minnesota Cup competition.
- The company had originally planned to build a $13 million facility, but had trouble obtaining the finances. This current project's proximity to manufacturers and a local university with a polymer engineering program make it good for an initial location.
As markets for some recycled material remain challenging, particularly for certain types of plastic, projects like this present new opportunities. When used in building applications they can also help close the loop in a small way and reduce the amount of new material needed for construction.
If Envirolastech can make use of some glass in its products that would also help a market which has faced difficulties. While new investments have been made at material recovery facilities in Ohio, Colorado, Utah and elsewhere recently to handle the material, some municipalities are still hesitant to spend the money to collect it.
Technologies that can turn plastic waste into innovative products have been more prominent, in a sign that this market has room for additional ideas. The startup ByFusion can turn plastic into building blocks that don't have the same weight-bearing properties as concrete but could be good for filling in building frames, among other uses. Dutch company KWS is also working on a concept that can turn plastic into replaceable roadway sections.