CRDC York facility ramping up recycling of unwanted plastic waste

Have plastic bottles you want recycled rather than dumped into landfills? How about those plastic grocery bags? And what about that broken skateboard, or old toothbrush?

“If it’s plastic,” Ross Gibby said, “we’ll take it.”

Gibby is Chief Operating Officer at CRDC Global Limited, which states on its site that is “a disruptive building materials company that creates appreciating value from the world’s plastic waste.” CRDC Global was founded in 2018 and has scaled operations from its Costa Rica base to Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, Samoa, South Africa, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and most recently, the United States, in particular York County.

“We need the sort of innovation that CRDC brings, and we welcome any solution that makes our city more sustainable,” City of York Mayor Michael Helfrich said after the York facility was announced.

The company’s low-carbon process accepts all plastic waste and converts it into climate-resilient concrete additives and eco-aggregates that are marketed and produced as RESIN8. Suitable for concrete blocks and pavers, pre-cast concrete, ready-mix concrete, mortars, and hot mix asphalt, RESIN8 represents what the company calls “a breakthrough concrete additive made from mixed plastic waste.” It is up to 15% lighter or stronger depending on its usage, with up to 20% better insultation properties than traditional concrete.

Among other uses, RESIN8 has been utilized by Habitat for Humanity to build social housing in Latin America. Along with Habitat for Humanity, CRDC Global partners with additional international organizations such as The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and works with waste management and construction industries around the world.

The York factory became operational Oct. 21 and Gibby said people in the White Rose City have been thanking CRDC for opening operations there. York was chosen as the first location in the U.S. and second in the world – Costa Rica being the first – because, as Gibby noted, it checked all the boxes.

“York served our needs well,” said Gibby. “We didn’t want to go too big too soon.”

Gibby, who himself is passionate about converting waste into value and is working to end plastic waste, believes that once people become engaged in dealing with plastic waste in a positive fashion, community awareness will help drive expansion. Possible sites for CRDC expansion include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  Ultimately, there are plans to have 50-100 plants across the U.S., including potential sites in Atlanta, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, and Boulder, Colorado.

“We want to reach as wide a geographic area as possible,” said Gibby. The goal, he added, is to “have a RESIN8 facility wherever there is people and waste and construction. We’re trying to serve all markets.”

CRDC’s approach is based on the acronym REAP – Recover, Enrich, Appreciate, Prosper:

  • Recover – CRDC looks to recover unwanted plastic in numerous ways, including their new “Bag that Builds” plastic recovery program with UNDP and other partners
  • Enrich – The company’s patented process converts all varieties of plastic into RESIN8
  • Appreciate – CRDC works with industry partners to improve the performance and value of structural and non-structural concrete applications
  • Prosper – The company focuses on improved economic, environmental, and societal outcomes, including working with partners like Habitat for Humanity on sustainable infrastructure solutions.

The REAP approach is based on what CRDC calls “a collaborative net-zero circular economy model that views the plastic and construction industries as a connected system.” The company seeks to create relationships between the connected systems so that the plastic industry stream becomes the raw material and value stream for industries focused on building and construction.

CRDC believes, in its words, “that a business-led approach, rooted in collaboration with the private sector, government NGO’s and international institutions, combined with disruptive innovation throughout the value chains, can achieve better economic, environmental, and social outcomes for all.”

Gibby said discussions are progressing rapidly for CRDC to have a national footprint in the U.S. Plastic waste of every type will be taken and transformed into RESIN8. Designed by and for the construction industry, the building material has been extensively tested and shown to improve the structural performance of concrete. Thus, a commercial solution for waste is produced, keeping the environment free of unwanted plastic.

“We partner with the waste management side and the construction side,” said Gibby, who added that facilities will be structured to match geographic regions and locations. “Our approach is to expand and replicate as quickly as possible to address the very dire plastic waste situation. We’re just scratching the surface of where this might go.”

U.S economy adds 390,000 jobs in May 

The American economy added 390,000 jobs in May as the unemployment rate remained at 3.6% for the third straight month, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. 

 A release from the department said that “notable” job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and transportation and warehousing. Employment in retail trade, however, declined. 

 Among major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians fell to 2.4%, while the jobless rates for adult men (3.4%), adult women (3.4%), teenagers (10.4%), whites (3.2%), Blacks (6.2%) and Hispanics (4.3%) showed little or no change last month. 

 In addition, the number of long-term unemployed – those jobless for 27 weeks or more – declined to 1.4 million. 

 That category accounted for 23.2% of all unemployed persons in May. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh noted in a statement that 408,000 jobs on average have been created each month over the past three months.  

“We remain focused on empowering all workers to seize these opportunities in a growing economy by working to improve job quality and job access all across the country,” he said. “Equity in our economy remains a top priority. While the unemployment rate held steady for most groups, the rate for Black workers remains nearly double that of white workers … . We continue to implement the Department’s Equity Action Plan, in partnership with agencies across the government and in line with the President’s Executive Order Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, to ensure that everything we do removes the barriers facing those who have been underserved by our economy in the past.”  

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer. 

SCHOTT looks to expand North American business following year of growth 

SCHOTT’s plant in South Lebanon Township has been running 24/7 to produce glass vials that carry the COVID-19 vaccines. PHOTO/FILE.

Mainz, Germany-based glass vial manufacturer SCHOTT grew its sales in the United States by 11.1% in 2021 to more than $530.6 million. 

The pharmaceutical products maker recently announced that it would be restructuring its presence in North America to align operations with its most robust sales market.  

The announcement followed the company’s most succesful business year to date, with the company bringing in €2.5 billion in sales internationnaly. 

The year also marked another successful year of vaccine vial production from the German company’s South Lebanon Township glass manufacturing plant, according to SCHOTT. 

“We adjusted our strategy to focus on the U.S. and activities in markets where we anticipate long-term growth. We have already recognized gains from that pivot and are well positioned to have an even better year in 2022,” said Bill James, vice president of R&D and new ventures at SCHOTT North America. “Our optimized presence in the U.S. will bring greater innovation and add to the sterling reputation that SCHOTT has built for generations.” 

SCHOTT has provided vaccine vials from its South Lebanon Township Facility for the past decade. In the midst of the pandemic, the plant had to ramp up production to a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week operation to keep up with orders. 

In 2021, SCHOTT’s pharmaceutical systems business unit increased manufacturing capacity to help the company produce vials for five billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines. SCHOTT underwent a multimillion-dollar investment at the Lebanon facility that tripled its capacity for pre-sterilized, ready-to-use glass vials and provided various facility upgrades. 

Outside of Lebanon, 2021 saw SCHOTT make a series of efforts to expand its bandwidth in the United States, including the acquisition of Phoenix, Arizona-based Applied Microarrays, which included a manufacturing facility specialized in point-of-care microfluidic devices. 

The company has also seen a growth in demand for its CERAN glass-ceramic cooktops, manufactured in Louisville, Kentucky and Vincennes, Indiana. 

Across the country, SCHOTT manages seven production sites, one R&D center, a sales office and roughly 1,000 employees. 

“Over the past several years, we have invested $60 million in the U.S., and additional investments will accelerate our strategy of profitable growth and allow us to concentrate our activities on markets where we expect strong, sustainable development,” said Dr. Heinz Kaiser, a board member at SCHOTT responsible for the group’s business in North America. 


Sen. Toomey: reopening after COVID-19 “off to a very impressive start”

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey told a room of midstate business leaders that he is cautiously optimistic about the country’s reopening, that he expects a fifth COVID-19 relief bill to pass through the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks and that the bill could feature a provision on liability protection.

“The data so far suggest that the recession was not as deep as we thought it would be and the recovery has gone off to a very impressive start in terms of businesses reopening and people getting back to work,” Toomey, R-Pa. said during a forum at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry in Harrisburg.

During the forum, Toomey outlined what he and the Senate hoped to accomplish with the country’s four COVID-19 relief bills, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.


Donna Partin, a franchisee of residential cleaning service company Merry Maids, asked Toomey what he thought of continuing the CARES Act’s Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provision, which adds an additional $600 per week on top of regular benefits to all unemployment compensation recipients.

Partin, who owns franchises in Mechanicsburg, York, Reading and Lancaster, said while her business has managed to grow since she had to lay off many of her employees during the pandemic, she has found it difficult to find employees, which she accredited to the large increases in unemployment compensation.

Toomey said the provision was a controversial issue on the Senate floor.

“In my view, there is a good reason why throughout the entire history of unemployment insurance programs, we never set the total unemployment compensation at a rate higher than what a person can make,” he said. “What a terrible message for the government to say you are worth more doing nothing than going to work.”

Toomey expects a battle in the Senate as the $600 add-on nears its July 31 expiration date. The Senator said he will refuse to support an extension to the policy and hopes it stays out of the next bill.

Liability protection for businesses was also brought up during the forum. Gene Barr, the chamber’s president and CEO, asked Toomey what his stance was on the Senate voting to increase liability protections amidst the fears of businesses receiving gratuitous lawsuits from customers claiming to have contacted COVID-19 in their facilities.

“We need liability protection and we have to be careful about how we do it and what criteria an employer must meet to have the protection,” Toomey said, adding that he expects liability protection to be featured in the next COVID-19 relief bill.

In his closing remarks, Toomey highlighted the importance of data during the pandemic and the improvements in treating the virus that have occurred since the country first locked down.

The Senator said the country will need to continue to continue to contend with the virus, but will need to do so without once again putting healthy people into quarantine and locking down the economy.

“Sixty eight percent of all of our fatalities in Pennsylvania occurred in nursing homes so clearly we didn’t do as good of a job in hindsight as we would have wished inside of our nursing homes,” he said. “Those people we have to make sure we protect, but healthy and younger people, as long as they take the necessary precautions, can get back to living life.”