Written by Tanya Terry
Business leaders, local, state and EGLE officials recently gathered to celebrate within the community. On Feb. 6, Mayor Sheldon Neeley, Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Acting Director Dan Eichinger, Michigan Department of Environmental Justice, EGLE Environmental Justice Public Advocate Regina Strong, State Senator John Cherry, State Rep. Cynthia Neeley, Flint & Genesee Economic Executive Director Tyler Rossmaessler and ACI Plastics Scott Melton were among those present. The occasion was the official grand opening of Flint-based ACI Plastics new 10 million-plus plastics recycling facility!
According to Neeley, the project had been in the making for a long time!
The company’s installation of state-of-the-art processing and cleaning technology will make ACI Plastics the largest processor of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic film in Michigan.
“ACI Plastics choose Flint, Michigan over a competitive site from Ohio,” Neeley stated.
Because of ACI’s more than $10 million plastics recycling facility, 25-30 new jobs will be created, and ACI is committed to prioritizing applicants for these new positions living in the city of Flint. Eichinger thanked ACI Plastics for investing in Flint, on behalf of EGLE.
ACI received funding support for its investment by way a $300,000 RENEW Michigan EGLE infrastructure grant. EGLE strives to support recycling infrastructure, improve the quality of materials and support market development using the RENEW Michigan fund. Michigan Legislature created the Renew Michigan Fund in 2019.
“The state of Michigan and Governor Whitmer are committed to working with our department and raising recycling rates to 45% by 2030,” said Eichinger.
This number will exceed the national average recycling rate of 32%, Eichinger pointed out.
He added Michiganders are already recycling more than ever before.
Governor Whitmer created the EGLE Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate in 2019. The office works collaboratively across state agencies to proactively engage with communities to address issues and complaints as they rise.
Achieving environmental justice and intentionally addressing systemic inequities are core elements of the work being done by Strong.
“Investments like this are not only good for the environment,” Strong said “They’re good for people. They’re good for the people of Flint.”
Strong pointed out jobs would be created, as well as an enhanced quality of life.
“Flint should enjoy the same high quality and advanced services as other parts of the state,” stated Strong.
Cherry pointed out 10% of the plastics we produce every year throughout the world are recycled.
Neeley pointed out through recycling, we’re helping ensure a healthy environment for the next generation of Michiganders.
Tyler explained the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance exists to help spur prosperity in Flint & Genesee County.
“ACI is the perfect model of the type of business we want to see grow and thrive here, and this project continues to green and clean our economy,” Tyler added.
Melton explained that at the peak of ACI’s production this year, the recycling system will process about 25 million pounds of post-consumer film every year. There is also room in the facility to add additional equipment, which will allow the capacity to expand to another 24 million pounds.
Most notably, he added the cutting-edge washline will allow for Michigan-produced plastic film strap to be kept within the state of Michigan for reuse, rather than be landfilled or shipped to other states for recycling.
Shortly afterwards, the new state-of-the-art technology was revealed.
ACI Plastics is located at 2000 Bagwell Street, in Flint, between Lapeer ST. and Lippincott Blvd.