July 2012

Meredian Bioplastics, Inc

THE PROJECT

In July 2012, AMCREF Community Capital (AMCREF) provided $12 million of NMTC financing to Meredian Bioplastics, Inc., an innovative green technology company manufacturing a biomass-based biodegradable polymer coating using polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) technology. Meredian is located in a rural, highly distressed low income community in Bainbridge, GA and provides high paying, skilled jobs in an emerging technology. Unemployment in the region had jumped from 6.1% in 2007 to 13.3% in 2011 and Bainbridge had been hit particularly hard during the recession. The area also had a 57% minority population and only 18.3% of residents over the age of 25 had a college degree or higher.

Meredian’s facility produces up to 30 million lbs of their patented bioplastics to be used as an environmentally friendly substitute for common existing petroleum-based coatings, such as polystyrene and polypropylene, which inhibit recycling and biodegradation. Use of Meredian’s PHA coating on products such as paper cups and food packaging can decrease the use of petroleum, reduce landfill waste and improve the products’ ability to biodegrade and be recycled. Meredian’s management team has a history of successfully developing and commercializing other forms of bioplastics.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: Maintain 24 direct FTEs; create 22 FTEs immediately and 250 FTEs at full capacity; FTE wages will average well above the local living wage; provides job training and full benefits; estimated 190 direct construction FTEs; project supports 239 indirect/induced FTEs
  • Environmental Benefits: Meredian PHA coatings are developed from renewable, natural resources and decrease the use of petroleum, particularly for low value, single use items. Products coated with Meredian PHA will be biodegradable and recyclable versus current alternatives which inhibit these processes, resulting in decreased landfill waste and pollution. Meredian PHA coatings are also safer, healthier non-toxic alternatives for coatings on beverage and edible product containers.
  • Community Support and Impacts: Meredian targets jobs for recruitment within the region. Biomass feedstock used to create their bioplastics is sourced from within a 250-mile radius of the project, providing support and an additional revenue stream for the region’s agricultural industry.
  • Economic / Catalytic Effects: Strongly supported by regional and local government and economic development groups. Meredian and its sister company have helped to diversify the economy that has historically been reliant on agriculture.