Sonoco expanding recycling facility

Hartsville packaging giant Sonoco said Tuesday it will expand its recycling center that's just a handful of football fields away from Williams-Brice Stadium.

The company is spending $2.5 million to increase the size of the Idlewilde Boulevard center by one-third.

On top of adding 14,700 square feet at the 15-year-old, 42,000-square-foot center, Sonoco also will bring in new sorting and conveyor equipment and a high-speed baler.

When work is finished this spring, however, Sonoco does not plan to add jobs at the center, which employs about 70, said Jane Hiller, the company's education specialist.

The center is expanding because Sonoco is adding customers, which include governments and businesses, she said. And those customers have been sending more materials for recycling each year, she said.

Sonoco still has room to expand at the site, Hiller said.

Sonoco uses the center for its Midlands region customers, which include the city of Columbia, 13 counties and seven school districts. Hundreds of businesses also use the center, including American Pasta, Bose and Lexington Medical Center.

The center recycles cardboard, paper, metals, plastics and glass. The public also can drop off recyclables at the center.

Sonoco uses cardboard recycled at the center to make industrial tubing used to form concrete columns or caulking materials, Hiller said.

The remaining recycled items are sold to other companies.

Many of those materials are reused for the same purpose, including newspapers, white paper, cans, aluminum and steel, Hiller said. But plastic soda bottles can become polyester carpeting, and color paper is bleached and used for tissue products, she said.

Sonoco said it collects and processes about 3 million tons of recyclable materials at 31 locations worldwide each year.