Recleim has received funding through the New Markets Tax Credit Program that will finance hefty equipment costs and working capital for the Atlanta-based company’s flagship appliance and electronics recycling facility in the old Hickman Mill textile plant.
Recleim chose the South Carolina site last February and has been retrofitting the 110,000-square-foot building since last summer.
The bulk of financing will go toward bringing equipment from two European manufacturers, Adelmann Umwelt GMBH in Germany and LESNI in Denmark, to the warehouse on Hard Street. Between $15 million and $20 million of the $40 million project will cover equipment costs, said plant general manager Douglas Huffer.
The equipment will ensure that home appliances and other commercial electronics are discarded in an environmentally safe manner, Huffer said. Technology from Adelmann Umwelt GMBH will enable Recleim to reprocess metals and other materials into the new product stream, while LESNI’s air purification system recaptures and destroys chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, found in refrigerated products.
“It’s technology that’s really not used here in North America today,” Huffer said. “It’s going to be a really fascinating thing for us, the way we handle CFCs and the elimination of ozone-depleting components that today go into the atmosphere and go into landfills.”
Recleim plans to reduce landfill waste by recovering 95 percent of components in recycled appliances and sell them for reuse. The plant is expected to be complete by late this year.
In the meantime, Recleim has worked for months with an undisclosed local company to recycle plastics in Augusta, Huffer said. Beginning this summer, the company is looking to hire about 180 workers.
Huffer said Recleim is looking for a local staff to help redevelop a community wrought by economic hardship.
In 2005, a train derailed in Graniteville, causing chlorine gas to leak into the textile building and destroying expensive equipment. A year later, Avondale Mills vacated the site.
“There’s a wealth of skilled and work-ready people in this area, and we are looking forward to getting this facility up and running to provide that economic incentive for people to come work in Graniteville,” Huffer said. “Hopefully this will be a start of better things to come.”
The New Markets Tax Credit Program was created in 2000 to stimulate investments for businesses and real estate projects in low-income communities, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Investors get a federal income tax credit in exchange for investments in specialized financial institutions.
The credit, which totals 39 percent of the original investment, can be redeemed after seven years. The program has allocated nearly 800 awards totalling $36.5 billion since inception. SunTrust Community Capital, with help from AMCREF Community Capital, secured the federal loan for Recleim.
“We believe this business will make a real difference both economically in the community and environmentally through its advanced technology,” said Eric Rosen, the program director of the New Markets Tax Credit at SunTrust.