Governor welcomes 'green' joint venture to Michigan during Japan visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
P: 517-335-6397 or
E: wurfels@michigan.gov 

TOKYO - Gov. Rick Snyder today praised the formation of new Michigan company that will employ Japanese recycling technology to convert shredded paper into a stronger, greener paper-plastic composite.

ECO Bio Plastics Midland Inc. (EBP) is a joint venture between Michigan Molecular Institute of Midland and Eco Research Institute of Tokyo. The governor, who is leading a weeklong trade mission to Asia, highlighted the partnership as an example of the economic and technological benefits that Michigan and Japan stand to gain through greater cooperation.

"Michigan and Midland are naturals to bring leading-edge technologies to the U.S., particularly one that transforms paper waste into a broad range of consumer and business applications," Snyder said. "Our meeting with Eco Research Institute executives detailed this pioneering green technology that holds the promise of significant growth in our state's renewable and sustainable business sector."

EBP will be the only source in the United States for bio-plastic pellets produced from compound  mixes of plastics and micron-sized dry powder made from shredded paper.  The pellets will be used in food service products, packaging materials, toys and heat insulation applications.  

"Midland is a good location for the first facility because of the presence of paper feedstock and the access to plastics technology through our partnership with Michigan Molecular Institute," said Taka Matsushita, president of Eco Research Institute.  "We believe EPB provides an excellent opportunity to create more quality jobs in Michigan."

The joint venture is expected to begin construction of its new facility in Midland before year's end. Total construction costs are estimated at $10 million. EBP plans to hire 30 people and begin production in the summer of 2012.  It expects to produce 20 million pounds of the bio-plastic pellets annually at the new plant. 

"Midland Tomorrow was excited to work with Michigan Molecular Institute and Eco Research Institute to make this project a reality," said Scott Walker, chief executive officer. "This project is an excellent example of Michigan expertise and polymer science being harnessed to create the next wave of immediately useful green technology coming from Japan. It combines the scientific and business development skills at Michigan Molecular Institute with an entrepreneurial, environmental technology in paper recycling from Japan- a global enterprise, with Midland's chemical manufacturing proficiency at the nexus." 
As part of his busy schedule in Japan, Snyder addressed business and government leaders attending the annual Japan-Midwest United States meetings, and met with six company delegations to underscore his openness to their expansion in Michigan.  He arrived in Tokyo on Sunday on the first of an investment mission that will also take him and Michigan economic development leaders to China and Korea before his return on Saturday. 

Follow the governor and Michigan Economic Development Corp. on twitter and Facebook for periodic updates on the Asia visits. Twitter accounts: @onetoughnerd and @MIAdvantage with the hash tag #MiAsiaBiz. Facebook accounts: www.facebook.com/rickformichigan and www.facebook.com/MIAdvantage.

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Gov. Rick Snyder meets with Takamichi Matsushita, president of Eco Research Institute of Tokyo
PHOTO ADVISORY 1: Gov. Rick Snyder, second from right, meets with Takamichi Matsushita,
president of Eco Research Institute of Tokyo, to the left of the governor. Pictured with Snyder
is Carol Miller, right, of Midland Tomorrow, and ERI leadership officials.

Products from the powdered paper-based plastics that will be made in Midland
PHOTO ADVISORY 2: Photo of products from the powdered paper-based plastics that will be
made in Midland, including building materials and reusable, dishwasher- and microwave-safe
drinking cups. Midland facility will be only one of its kind in North America.

 



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