Southeastern Environmental Solutions is turning recycled material into revenue. A Rural Development Loan through Jackson Energy Cooperative will help the Laurel County company grow while decreasing waste products in landfills.
The $2 million no-interest loan is offered through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office and the loans are administered by local electric cooperatives, like Jackson Energy. The company expects to add 30 new jobs over the next three years as a result of the loan.
“We recycle material that at one point in time would go into a landfill,” said Ernest Matt House, co-owner of Southeastern Environmental Solutions (SES). Other owners include Mike Bargo and Russ Asher. “We’re taking scrap material, mainly from the automotive industry, and repurposing it.” House said the scrap mainly comes from materials used for headliners and flooring that goes down before carpet is installed in vehicles.
The loan will be used to purchase an additional machine for the company’s site in the Fariston Industrial Park.
House said SES operates three shifts at the facility and has 15 employees. The additional machine will allow them to process more material. Scrap material comes into the company in big rolls and is shredded. “It looks like syrup,” he said of the first steps in processing, “which then freezes and is chopped into pellets.”
The pellets are eventually turned into fabric. An 80,000 lbs. load of scrap material generates 40,000 lbs. of finished product, which makes its way back to the automotive industry.
“One thing I’ve learned,” House said of the recycling process, “is how much everything has polyester in it.”
Currently, the company works with a broker to sell the finished product. House said the ideal situation would be to establish a working relationship with one or two companies to get their scrap material and ship the finished product back to them.
“The Rural Development Loan program allows Jackson Energy to help local companies expand,” says Jackson Energy President & CEO Carol Wright. “This is the twelfth loan we have administered to companies throughout our service area. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in the region not only by providing electric service but also through economic development.”