New recycling plant set to save Rock Hill city time, money

A new recycling business is helping the city of Rock Hill save time and money in transporting recycled materials, officials say.

Pratt Industries – a national paper and packaging recycling company with a new operation in Rock Hill – will hold a grand opening Thursday at its 72,000-square-foot facility on Cel River Road.

Last month, the city of Rock Hill began depositing at the Pratt plant the recycled materials its workers collect from homes and businesses. Previously, Rock Hill trucked recyclables to Sonoco Recycling in Charlotte.

The change of drop-off location does not affect Rock Hill residents’ pick-up service, said Katie Quinn, city spokeswoman.

However, city officials may consider in the coming months providing larger recycling bins to residents – a request often made by many garbage and recycling customers, she said.

Weekly recycling pick-up is free for Rock Hill’s sanitation customers. The city provides blue carts for residents to place on the curb.

Having a recycling facility closer to home is a “tremendous benefit to Rock Hill citizens,” Mayor Doug Echols said in a news release from the company. Taking recycled material to the Cel River Road plant, he said, will save the city money on fuel and reduce the time it takes to complete routes.

City officials estimate Rock Hill will save up to $150,000 each year by using Pratt instead of Sonoco. While Pratt pays the city less than Sonoco did for the recycled goods, officials say they’ll see cost savings because of the reduced travel time and expense for fuel.

Rock Hill public works crews pick up recycling from homes on the same day garbage is collected. Before Pratt’s plant opened, the trucks with recycled materials would drive to Charlotte to drop off the materials.

Myles Cohen, Pratt’s recycling division president, says recycling is good for business and the environment. Recycling, he said, reduces the need for landfill space and opening new facilities creates jobs.

Opening in Rock Hill, Cohen said, meets a specific need in a portion of South Carolina that has “historically been under-served by not having a material recovery facility.”

The new 7.5-acre site accepts residential and commercial paper, plastic and metal recyclables. The Rock Hill location is the third Pratt facility of its kind in the state. Company officials say the new plant can serve the recycling needs of businesses, cities and counties within a 100-mile radius.

Paper sorted on site at Pratt will be used at the company’s mill in Conyers, Ga. There, the company recently opened a $13 million “eco-campus” which includes a solid waste transfer station and recycling facility.

The Rock Hill location will have the capacity to handle 150 tons of recyclables every day, company officials say. Pratt is the fifth-largest corrugated packaging company in the nation and the world’s largest privately-owned 100-percent recycled paper and packaging firm.