A recycling company has found a new use for an old textile plant.
An Atlanta company is going to establish its flagship appliance-recycling facility in downtown Graniteville, South Carolina officials announced Wednesday in Columbia.
Recleim, which was formed last year, will invest $40.6 million and generate 200 jobs with the recycling plant.
The business will be placed in the former Hickman Mill plant, 118 Hard St. The company is updating the 110,000-square-foot building to accommodate three production lines.
The firm is seeking its management team now. It won’t start hiring production workers until the end of the year. The targeted start is the summer of 2014, said Ben Hirokawa, the CEO of Recleim.
In Aiken County, 67,420 people have jobs, according to Department of Employment and Workforce data. Adding the recycling jobs could potentially lower the unemployment rate from 8.7 percent to 8.4 percent.
Aiken County had 8.7 percent unemployment in December, which is the latest available. January and February numbers are due in March.
“This is a big step for our company. South Carolina provides us with an excellent business environment and the skilled workforce we need for our operations,” Hirokawa said.
The firm recycles substances from discarded appliances such as refrigerators and freezers in addition to computers, laptops and cellphones.
Recleim said it will be using a system provided by German environmental engineering services company Adelmann Umwelt GMBH. The Adelmann technology is capable of recycling all types of large appliances, small appliances and electronics.
Hirokawa said each production line will have the capability to recycle 400,000 refrigerator or freezer units each year.
“Our state’s recycling industry continues to grow and thrive, thanks to announcements like this one from Recleim,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “While I often say we know how to make things, it’s also true that we know how to remake things.”
The commerce department has recruited more than $790 million in capital investment and more than 1,500 new jobs in the recycling-related sector since January 2011.
“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for Aiken County, but more importantly the Graniteville community,” said Ronnie Young, the chairman of Aiken County Council. “Since 2006, we have been working to attract jobs back into this area.”
The plant was once home to yarn operations for Avondale Mills, which shut down in 2006, a year after a deadly train crash in downtown Graniteville that released chlorine gas that seeped into the company’s offices and mills, destroying expensive equipment and halting operations for weeks.
“Not only will this revitalize one of the facilities in the communities, it will also allow the people of Graniteville to once again have employment opportunities close to home,” Young said. “For working in those mills for 30 years of my career, I can understand the importance of that endeavor.”