Biocomposites

Pennsylvania factory to turn out hemp-based plastic products

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A Pennsylvania company said it will turn part of a former textile mill into a factory to turn out hemp-based biodegradable plastic food containers, cups, plates and straws.

Sivana Converting LLC said it purchased 350,000 square feet of industrial space in the Sunbury Textile Mill, and plans to open the facility in the next six months. Sivana, based in Mountain Top, Luzerne County, said it expects to begin hiring workers in autumn, and estimated the factory will provide 50 jobs for technicians, operators, packers, customer service and sales representatives, and office administration in its first year. The company said it hopes to grow the workforce to more than 125 in its third year.

Strategic support

The factory, on a 57-acre site, previously housed Glenn Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, a maker of furniture fabrics. That company shut down operations in August, idling 110 employees. Glenn Raven’s owners donated the facility in December to Driving Real Innovation for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE), an economic development agency serving several eastern Pennsylvania counties.

A DRIVE spokesperson said Sivana is expecting machines to equip the factory in three months.

Sivana received a $100,000 investment late last year from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania in support of its development plans. The company said at the time it intends to later expand its product offerings to supply hemp-based pulp and fibers as raw materials to other manufacturers.

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