NewWood Manufacturing, Inc. (NewWood), a manufacturer of sustainable wood-plastic composite building materials today announced the opening of a 275,000 square foot facility in the Satsop Development Park in Elma. The company plans to employ 150 individuals in a region facing an unemployment rate of 12.0%.
“This technology which unites the best qualities of wood with the durability of plastic will revolutionize the building materials industry,” said NewWood President and CEO John Bowser. “NewWood is delighted to bring to market this wood-plastic composite developed here in the Pacific Northwest”.
NewWood purchased the closed plant, the state-of-the-art machinery inside and the patent rights that the prior owner, Boise Cascade, had invested tens of millions of dollars in developing over a decade. Financing for NewWood was arranged through a combination of a loan provided by Enterprise Cascadia and the sale of federal tax credits to U.S. Bancorp. Enterprise Cascadia is a certified non-profit Community Development Financial Institution serving urban and rural communities of Oregon and Washington.
Originally envisioned as an alternative to wood or fiber cement siding, the NewWood building material encapsulates wood fibers obtained from recycled waste wood with polyethylene plastic. The resulting board has a lower density than plastic or current wood-plastic composite products on the market and can be formed into a flexible utility board. With the help of the Washington State University Composite Materials and Engineering Center (CMEC) NewWood has identified over 100 applications that the NewWood utility board can be fabricated into, including fruit bins, pallets and fencing.
These finished products combine the best attributes of wood and plastic without the environmental cost of cutting down trees or extracting more fossil fuels. In addition, NewWood’s products have been certified by experts from the CMEC as being more sustainable (green), recyclable and durable than their wood or wood-alternative competitors. NewWood’s utility board also has the best qualities of plastic, including being insect and moisture proof, with a much lower density than plastic. This makes it ideal for applications, such as fruit bins or pallets for export, which must be sanitized after each use and certified as being free of insects or contaminants.
Bowser credits the assistance of local, state and national elected representatives and organizations in making it possible to re-open the plant which has been idle since 2006. “The leadership of Senator Murray and Governor Gregoire was critical in putting together our financing package, including our USDA rural business loan guarantee,” said Bowser. “This is a tremendous community asset that we are working in partnership with the Grays Harbor Public Development Authority and suppliers like Glacier Recycle and Smurfit Stone to finally put into full production.” Congressman Norm Dicks and State Representative and House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler were strong advocates for the plant’s re-opening over the year and a half that NewWood has been working to assemble financing and acquire the technology.
“Creating jobs in a chronically high unemployment county is what these federal programs were designed for,” said Senator Patty Murray in explaining why she pushed for the USDA Rural Business and Industry loan guarantee for NewWood. “I hope to see this unique combination of the sale of federal tax credits for job creation with federal loan guarantees duplicated in other Washington communities. We still have a long ways to go in putting our skilled labor force back to work, especially in Washington’s rural counties”.
NewWood plans to develop the plant in Elma into a world class manufacturing facility. The plant will operate 24 hours a day, recycling over 170 million pounds of urban wood and plastic waste, otherwise destined for a landfill. From this recycled material NewWood will produce over 100 million square feet of high performance and technically advanced wood-plastic composite panels tailored for multiple market segments. Initially the company will produce four foot by eight foot utility boards of 7/16ths inch depth for use by local manufacturers in fabricating fruit bins, pallets and crates. NewWood plans on expanding production to accommodate markets in concrete forms, siding, fencing, and other products.
About NewWood Manufacturing, Inc.
NewWood Manufacturing Inc., owned by NewWood Corporation, is a sustainable wood-plastic composite building material manufacturer that owns and operates a world class facility located in Elma, Washington. The company recycles local urban wood and plastic waste and transforms it into utility boards that are more sustainable (green), durable, flexible, and sanitary than current wood-plastic composite products on the market. The utility boards can be fabricated into fruit bins, pallets, crates, and other potential products in the future. For additional information about NewWood please visit www.NewWoodCorp.com.