(01/21/13) - A joint venture between a company from Japan and a Midland institute has created more than a dozen jobs - and more could be on the way.
Eco Bio Plastics in Midland officially opened its doors Monday.
This is a story about job creation, and helping the environment at the same time. But first, a musical number.
So what does a little rock and roll have to do with a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new business? We'll get to that in a moment.
The Japanese company developed a method to turn shredded paper into a plastic-paper composite that can be found from everything from cups, to Legos, to chop sticks. The Japanese company teamed with the Michigan Molecular Institute to bring the technology to Midland.
"We have a good opportunity in this area. There is a lot of expertise in the chemicals and plastic business here in central Michigan," said Jim Plonka, Eco Bio Plastics Midland CEO.
The company says the recycling process reduces carbon dioxide emissions. Fourteen jobs have been created by the new company.
"I was laid off in 2008 from a manufacturing company and I took odd jobs here and there, but not enough to pay the bills," said Melissa Kocsis, from Kawkawlin. Kocsis got one of the jobs - a job that pays enough to pay the bills.
"Just knowing that we are going to help improve the environment with this facility, it's really exciting," she said.
Now, back to the music.
The chairman of Eco Research Institute in Japan, Takamichi Matsushita, just happened to be a rock star in Japan some 35 years ago.
"His passion is music, it still is, but he is concerned about the environment," said Fukuji Saotome, of Eco Bio Plastics Midland.
So, after the ribbon was cut, it was time to jam, much to the delight of those in attendance, and the new employees of Eco Bio Plastics.
"It was awesome. I was trying not to jam too much," Kocsis said.
The hope is that by the end of the year, there will be 35 employees at the plant.
ABC12 Main Station