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Posts from the ‘Employees’ Category

Interstate Container’s Newest Plant Opens December First in Columbia, South Carolina

Interstate Container is expanding, now opening a plant focused solely on Greencoat®; the companies eco-friendly wax-alternative packaging. The new plant in Columbia, South Carolina is scheduled to begin operations on December first.

Initially the new plant will create 25 jobs, according to Jim Krahn, head of process and product innovation. He also said that they will eventually expand to 100 employees, “within the next year.”

That’s big news for Lexington County and there were a few reasons Interstate Container decided to place their new facility there. “County offered us a great location and has the positive business environment we are looking for. South Carolina also provides our company with exceptional market access as we seek to increase our customer base.”

South Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said, “The decision by Interstate Container to locate its new facility in Lexington County not only speaks to our state’s business-friendly and talented workforce, but also its exceptional access to markets. South Carolina provides companies with a strategic location to reach markets all along the East Coast as well as throughout the Southeast.”

Interstate Container’s Greencoat® will continue to expand as far as they push it. It’s a great product that’s as strong as traditional boxes, it’s recyclable, and doesn’t cost any more than the competitors non eco-friendly products. Greencoat® is a compostable, repulpable wax-alternative board that can be used to package a number of food products, including:

  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • And Produce

The new plant will produce enough Greencoat® boxes to replace over 700,000 square feet of non-recyclable board per year; making Interstate Container’s $13 million investment, well worth it.

The remarkable performance of Greencoat® boxes in the marketplace have made Interstate the industry leader in Wax Replacement packaging for fresh food.  This fully recyclable product provides amazing results that allow it to replace wax boxes, which cannot be recycled.  The Columbia plant is dedicated to the Greencoat® product line that is the new standard for box performance for Wax Replacement packaging.

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Pete and Jeff on Interstate Container and Greencoat

I recently got a chance to sit down with both Pete Bugas and Jeff Cormier to talk about Interstate Container (Cambridge specific) and Greencoat®. Both of them had great things to say about the company and current products, along the people and future of Greencoat®.

For reference Pete is the General Manager (on the left in photo above) and Jeff is the Sales Manager (on the right).

How did you get started with Interstate Container? When and what title did you hold at the time?

Pete – Started in 1986 in the wax poultry packaging division and became a sales manager in 97′ at the Massachusetts plant. After several interim GM stints in Cambridge, became the GM officially in May of 2010.

Jeff – Started out in Massachusetts as a quality manager in 1993. After work on a L.L. Bean project, I was promoted to sales in 1998. In 2004 I became the sales manager for the Cambridge outfit.

What do you want customers/partners to know about ICI Cambridge?

Pete – The development of Greencoat took place solely in Cambridge. It took five years to develop, including machinery and test trials.

Jeff – That we are the largest wax alternative and wax facility in the Northeast. All of our boxes are custom sized to reduce excess box. This reduces the amount of materials used and adds stability to all of the boxes*.

*I recently saw this in action at a local poultry plant. Anne Potterton (also sales) was discussing their new 6 1/4″ box versus the original 7″ box. The manager at Mountaire seemed very pleased with the new size. 

Why makes your product better – specifically Greencoat?

Pete – Greencoat is the most cost effecient and best performing was alternative by far, for poultry, seafood, and soon, produce. Greencoat is sustainable*.

Jeff – It is a wax replacement product that is just as strong as wax, but it can be recycled. The PRICE of Greencoat is the same as any other wax box purchasable and recycling actually allows you to make money. While most company’s  pay for their conventional wax boxes to be taken to a disposal, our customer get paid to recycle Greencoat. Greencoat creates a new revenue stream where most boxes are just an expense.

* Pete took some time to explain what it means for both a product and a company to be sustainable. He explained it in three ways:

  • Environmentally sustainable – the product must be environmentally friendly, or made with renewable resources.
  • Economically competitive – The product being sold must be sold at a competitive price compared to others. Nobody is going to pay more for the same services (even if its green).
  • Certifiable/ Social aspects – The company should have some type of certifications and treat their employees and customers respectfully.

What is in the Future for GreenCoat?

Pete – Getting into produce and expanding the knowledge into a wide customer base. Right now, produce is using 49 percent of the 1.5 million TONS of wax board per year. That 1.5 million tons is non-recyclable waste. That 49 percent produce is  a market we have to move into.

Jeff- Growth, and lots of it. Right now we are starting another plant in South Carolina, which is dedicated to greencoat production. I would like two to four more as we continue to grow. After the South Carolina plant starts up, we will be the second largest poultry box supplier in the nation. We are still working on a Greencoat box to last through heavy, water saturated conditions (produce is often packed in ice).

Anything else you would like add?

Jeff – We have had no failed trials with chicken packaging; packages have made it out to California and everywhere in between. We need grocery store chains, hotel chains, and distributors to drive the effort towards green packaging and know the benefits that come with Greencoat. 

 What is you favorite part of working at Interstate Container Cambridge?

Pete – The people and their creativity

Jeff – The people

Whats the easiest way to contact you?

Pete – email: Pete.Bugas@interstatecontainer.com / phone: (410)-463-1909

Jeff – email: Jeff.Cormier@interstatecontainer.com / phone: (443)-523-4925