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Plastics company coming to Winchester

A new company making biodegradable plastics has announced plans to locate its manufacturing facility in Winchester. Initially, Danimer Scientific, based in Bainbridge, Georgia, is planning to invest $36.2 million in the facility and create 37 jobs.

The company is working to purchase the former Alltech algae facility on Rolling Hills Lane, which has been vacant since April when the facility was shuttered. Production is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Danimer will use the building;s fermentation tanks as part of the process to make Nodax PHA, a biopolymer which is then used to make biodegradable and compostable plastic products, including straws, food packaging, trash bags and bottles, according to the release.

The product would then be shipped to Danimer’s facility in Georgia and be combined with other biopolymers to make the resins.

“This facility marks a major milestone for our company,” Danimer Scientific CEO Stephen Croskrey said in a news release. “It will be the world’s first PHA commercial production plant, positioning us to provide our Nodax PHA biodegradable plastic material for a wide variety of applications, from food packaging to drinking straws and more. Kentucky’s state resources and strong local workforce have provided us with a significant leg up in getting this project off the ground.” 

Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said the company’s site in Winchester will have several positive impacts.

“Winchester is committed to attracting world class industry to the community. Danimer Scientific is no exception,” Burtner said in the release. “The careers they will offer, the wages they will pay, the investment, and the product they manufacture will be deeply impactful.”

Earlier this month, the Winchester Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to support issuing up to $110 million in bonds over two phases to attract Danimer to the industrial park.

The first phase, Industrial Authority Executive Director Todd Denham said, would involve renovating the 88,000 square foot facility to meet Danimer’s needs and beginning operations.

A second phase, if warranted by demand for the product, would be an expansion of the facility and additional jobs, he said.

“They’ve been working to develop this process for about 10 years to show it will work,” Denham said. “Now they have done so and they’re ready to start producing.”

Ultimately, Danimer could employ more than 70 people, Denham said. The jobs were estimated to average about $26 an hour, he said.

“Danimer Scientific is a true innovator within the plastics industry, and we are proud they have selected Kentucky for this exciting new venture,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in the release. “The company’s decision to locate here is a strong endorsement of the community of Winchester as well as the commonwealth’s overall business climate. We congratulate both Danimer Scientific and Clark County on this promising partnership, and we look forward to a bright future of shared success.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority also approved up to $1.5 million in tax incentives for the company as well as an additional $175,000 in tax incentives from the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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