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Waste Authority Partners with Building Materials Manufacturer

A company that manufactures building materials from used Styrofoam wants to open a factory in Columbus, and the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio -- known as SWACO -- says it will assist. SWACO is applying for a $2 million loan from the state development department. It expects as many as 50 so-called green jobs to be created plus a significant reduction in landfilled Styrofoam.

Rastra Technologies manufactures building panels made by mixing polystyrene and concrete. The company says its product, which can be used in commercial and residential construction, is fire-, termite- and moisture-proof, capable of withstanding high winds and has a high insulation value. The payoff for SWACO, according to spokesman John Remy, is the reduced volume of waste that will be sent to the Grove City landfill.

"Our landfill receives at least five tractor-trailer loads of polystyrene daily," Remy says. "Add all that up, that comes to about 87,000 cubic yards or about 6% of our annual landfill capacity. So that's going to save us a lot of space."

Recycling instead of landfilling that amount will save the authority about $700,000 a year, according to Remy. He says Rastra will employ between 40 and 50 people in the next three to four years when the new plant goes into production. SWACO and Rastra collaborated several years ago when local school children collected polystyrene lunch trays. The trays were converted into material used to build the walls for the structure known as "My House" at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.