“The folks at NewWood produce a product out of recycled materials and our members were very interested in how they are doing it,” said Sharon Hlavka, who is on the WRSA board and is chair of the event.
“We’ve gotten to know the recycling community in this region – some of them in our search for recycled materials to use – and we wanted to offer them the opportunity of see how our product is made,” said John Bowser, CEO of the company.
A year ago, Bowser took an idled factory and birthed a new company that now employs more than 40 people making a utility board created from post consumer wood waste and discarded plastic bags and sheets.
The company is located inside Satsop Business Park, which has been “recycled” from a former nuclear power plant construction site. (The plant was never finished, fueled or fired.)
“We are a three-in-one win,” said Lincoln Ferris, NewWood’s vice president of strategic development. “One, we’re providing an outlet for some of the most difficult to recycle materials – plastic bags. Two, we’re creating a green building material that’s helpful when you are trying to change your built environment to have more trees.
“And, we also marry up the urban and the rural in a good way. Instead of taking the raw materials from the rural environment to feed the urban environment, we’re doing the opposite. We’re extracting raw materials – if you will – from the urban area to make jobs and products in the rural area. And that is very intriguing to many people,’” Ferris said.
Ferris said that he’s hoping that the Satsop Business Park and other nearby areas begin to attract other recyclers and those interested in making products out of recycled materials. “We can see this area becoming a recycling hub,” he said.
Satsop Business Park CEO Tami Garrow agrees.
“We like to think of the Park as the ultimate recycling project – putting our assets back to work in a new way provides great benefits to the businesses that have chosen to make Satsop their home,” Garrow said. “And with the proximity of NewWood, a great workforce and buildings and space available here, we can see Satsop Business Park becoming a great place for other businesses that use recycled materials to create new products.”
During lunch, NewWood will host a forum in which Bowser, Roy Nott, Paneltech entrepreneur, and Terry Gillis of Recovery 1, a construction demolition and landscaping debris recycling facility in Tacoma, will discuss the challenges in financing start-up companies and winning market acceptance.
Thursday’s event also includes a tour of Paneltech Products, Inc., located at the Port of Grays Harbor. Paneltech creates Paperstone brand countertops and other building and ballistic materials from recycled paper and environmentally friendly resins. Buses will transport participants to the Port and return them to Satsop Business Park.