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Posts from the ‘Interstate Container’ 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.

Interstate Container Helping United Way Raise Money for Education and Other Local Services

Interstate Container Cambridge has been working with their local United Way over the last four years. The company has donated $107,674 during that span, including 35,000 at the last campaign. General Manager, Pete Bugas enjoys working with the United way, even saying that “The United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore has been a perfect fit for all of us.”

Interstate Container believes in helping their neighbors and the United way helps in many different areas. The programs that will benefit include; “the Dorchester YMCA, Delmarva Community Services, the Salvation Army, American Red Cross and Coastal Hospice.”

The Company is interested in helping the community because they care, not for the glamour, but for the idea of a better tomorrow. A cleaner, healthier, safer tomorrow and that goes beyond providing environmentally friendly boxes. Interstate Container is focused on helping community on every level possible. “We don’t just wear the shirt, we certainly Live United,” Pete stated. He also added a few more words when I spoke with him on the subject:

“We have a company of 100 people who work awfully hard each day, and who care deeply about their community.  Often times they will work 6 days a week, or work a lot of overtime and don’t have much free time to commit to a charitable organization.  By giving and supporting the programs of the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, it is a fantastic way to give back to so many organizations that impact our 4 surrounding counties.”

The four surrounding counties are; Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset . Of the contributors in Dorchester County, Interstate Container is the largest supporter, something which they are extremely proud. Proud enough in fact, that they hired a local artist Michael Rosato to do the mural you see in the background of the picture.

This is what Rosato said to Stardem.com about it:

“It was very important to incorporate certain words, like Live United, and that the mural depict the fact that (Interstate Container) uses green technology. It also was important to show how (Interstate Container) gives back to the community.”

For more information pertaining to the United Way and Interstate Container Cambridge connection; read the Stardem.com article here.

Mountaire and Interstate Container Cambridge

Mountaire and Interstate Container; it’s a simple connection. Mountaire is in the poultry business and Interstate Container has found an innovative way to ship poultry. I got the chance to visit one of Mountaire’s plants in Selbyville, Delaware last week. New to the boxing industry, I was quite surprised at the conditions the Greencoat boxes were able to withstand.

Greencoat is an alternative to wax boxes, traditionally used by poultry companies, as well as seafood and produce companies. Because Greencoat is recyclable, it can actually create new avenues of revenue. Mountaire is also a company that is interested in the “green” approach.

Mountaire says that they are dedicated to, “A strong record of creating environmentally sustainable farming and business practices.” They are living up to this daily in Selbyville; I have seen it.

Now you have too… Theses are just boxes of chicken; chilled and stacked seven high. The boxes have maintained their strength, even in the watery conditions surrounding them. This is a testament to their durability and multitude of uses. Wether the product needs to be chilled, frozen, or just plain packaged, Greencoat boxes perform just as good as wax board.

I saw another highly coveted feature from Interstate Container and Greencoat while I was there as well. Customized boxes, specifically the height of the box. Because everything is stacked for shipping, even a few inches of extra room can cause a box to collapse under those weights. Mountaire was testing their new 6 1/4″ box for 40lb’s of chicken legs while I was there. The box filled just to the top, making sure there was no room for failure.

All together it was a great learning experience. These two companies have a great amount of respect for the environment and have taken strides to become leaders in their communities.

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

Test Post One

This is a test post for Interstate Container Cambridge LLC. Greencoat® is 100% recyclable and reliable.