Archived Story

KW Plastics provides virtual tour to students

Published 11:00pm Thursday, September 27, 2012

Those who think that recycling is not worth their time and effort just don’t know enough about recycling.

Although individual recycling efforts may not put a jingle in one’s pockets, the efforts are indirectly beneficial to all.

Stephanie Baker, KW Plastics director of market development, conducted a Virtual Field Trip from Pike County High School Thursday afternoon. Baker’s presentation was delivered through video conferencing to schools in Brantley, Headland, Pleasant Home and Baldwin County to students who are taking Environmental Science through ACCESS. The Troy University ACCESS program provides opportunities for schools in the 27 county districts to take classes and trips through video conferencing.

KW Plastics is headquartered in Troy and is the world’s largest producer of custom-engineered, recycled polypropylene co-polymer resins or, simply put, plastics.

Baker told the students that KW Plastics used innovative thinking to find a way to reclaim and recycle the plastic used in automotive battery casings.

“The casing had been put in landfills but the EPA got involved and banned the plastic casings from the landfills because they contained acid contaminants,” Baker said. “In 1981, KW Plastics found a way to break down and recycle the casings and give them back to the manufacturer.”

In 1992, KW Plastics diversified to include the recycling of other plastic materials.

Baker said the focus of KW Plastics is to find useful ways to take increasingly large amounts of waste out of the environment and develop new and innovative products.

“One of those products is the plastic paint can that is made from 100 percent recycled plastic,” said Baker, who explained the recycling process, step by step, to the students. “But it all begins with you. Those who recycle are the beginning of the process.”

Baker said that recycling has a tremendous impact on the environment. It preserves natural resources and reduces pollution, the need for landfills and litter.

“Recycling also has a great economic impact,” she said. “Right here in Troy, KW Plastics provides employment for 195 people and has an annual payroll of $6.6 million. KW Plastics pays around $4.5 annually in utility usage and $150,000 in local and state taxes. So, we all benefit indirectly from recycling.”

The troubling fact about recycling is so few households recycle. Baker said that if only 10 percent more of Alabama’s households would recycle, 1,400 more jobs would be created. There would be $66 million more in personal income and $3 million more in annual state tax revenue.

“We are putting $3 million a year in the ground,” she said.

Baker said that KW Plastics has to go into Canada and Mexico to help meet the demands for recyclable plastic.

“The United States does not supply enough plastic to meet the demands,” she said. “If KW had to depend only on Alabama to supply its needs, we would only have enough recyclable plastic for two days.”

She encouraged the students to explore opportunities for recycling in the area.

“We have several metal companies here so, every time you throw away an aluminum can, you’re throwing away money and an opportunity to have an impact on the environment and the economy,” she said. “Recycling is worth the time and the effort.”


  • Omelas

    Troy students get an even better tour of Sanders Lead daily….every time they take a breath.

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    • czx90


      I haven’t heard of any children ever having health problems due to Sanders Lead. The web site you provided uses rankings that are determined by “modeled concentrations”, not actual levels. The city of Troy and the school system enjoy substantial benefits from the tax revenues and jobs created by Sanders Lead.

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  • Omelas

    The links below show their longstanding pattern of regulatory non-compliance. Based on direct measurements, not modeling.

    You are not likely to “hear” of children having health problems due to lead exposure, though there is NO safe level of exposure. Money talks. People find themselves choosing to either keep quiet and endure, or lose their livelihoods.

    Yes, it is true that Sanders Lead generates a lot of money for the City of Troy and the school system. But, how much are the children of Troy worth? Apparently less than the revenue generated.

    And, while people think about the mental retardation caused by lead exposure in children, neurological damage occurs in adults, as well.

    Of course, like with every other problem in Troy, we are to keep quiet and leave things as they have always been. Who cares that our children are losing mental function, that our adults develop various neuropathies?

    It doesn’t matter that there is lead in the air and that the soil and water we use for growing our food is contaminated with lead, antimony, and cadmium. Just keep the money flowing so everyone can have an iPad…even if they have lost the mental function to use it.

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    • Observer

      Their figures seem a bit strange. The charts show the population within 3-miles of each business listed including only 355 people living within a three mile radius of Troy State University? And similar numbers for each site listed.

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      • Omelas

        In the “key facts” portion of the report in the first link, it says, “The facility has a population of 357 within a 3 mile radius, of which 42% are minorities.”

        I will look closer when I have time, but did not find where it said that there were 355 people living within a three mile radius of TSU.

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  • Harry

    Omelas , and your suggestion on how to correct this situation ??
    Would it be to shut Sanders down , lay off all the workers and haul the batteries to the landfill . Wow that would really clear everything up wouldn’t it . I’m under the impression the article was about KW Plastics not Sanders Lead plant.

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    • Omelas

      OK. Let’s talk about Sanders Lead’s sister company, KW Plastics. The latest data I could find in a jiffy was from 2010. According to the EPA, “Kw Plastics in Troy, Alabama released 21,815.4 pounds of Lead in 2010.” (Source: )

      My suggestion: community pressure to bring them at least into regulatory compliance. Money talks, and it speaks to politicians who keep the EPA/ADEM attack dogs at bay. Community pressure = voter pressure. That is the only thing that can speak as loudly as money.

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      • Bill_OReally

        First, what were their violations? Specifically. Were they actual violations of emission limitations?

        Second, I would bet you dinner at Santa Fe that they already have the maximum pollution controls in place that are available AND as required by federal regulations. If you know they don’t, please tell me what controls they are supposed to have.

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    • Omelas

      Oh, and I didn’t even mention the cloud of styrene we breath from KW Plastics. You know, that plastic smell that drifts across town when the wind is right. Yeah, good stuff for us and our kids.

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      • Anonymous Like Omelas

        Omelas, son, that’s Wayne Farms’ stinky chicken poop and parts you are smelling. It’s right next to KW. You goofy boob, you! Remember, stinky chicken poop and parts.

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        • WDM

          And the dust that covers everything for miles around Wayne Farms

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        • LateNiteLuigi

          Nah-that smell is coming from our state and federal representatives! “Can’t ya smell that smell”

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      • Bill_OReally

        That styrene you smell is not from K&W. It’s from HB&G. Go over there to the north end of their plant and take a big whiff. And I would bet they also are doing what they are required by law.

        If you don’t like it, have the law changed. But first, you will need some factual justification for having it changed. And that is not there at this time. Styrene stinks but it is not classified as a carcinogen.

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