New one-of-a-kind recycling business thriving in Albert Lea

Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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As the U.S. marks National Recycling Day this week, Infinite Recycled Technologies in Albert Lea will be doing its part to keep millions of pounds of glass out of landfills.

This company developed the process to recycle a type of glass left over from window manufacturing. It separates laminated glass from plastic interlayers, returning the glass to the manufacturer for raw material, and sending the plastic to a different manufacturer for carpet backing.

Before this new technology, all the waste glass went to landfills.

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“Due to the work that we’ve all done over the last several years, we have diverted 30 million pounds of material that would have gone directly into a landfill. Because of this work, that material has gone back into making new products that improve all of our lives. I’m very proud of that,” said Jeremiah Watson, chief executive officer of Infinite Recycled Technologies.

“However, it’s not all good news, we’ve got a problem that is enormous. That 30 million pounds that we are recycling pales in comparison to the 14.5 billion pounds that we landfill every year in the United States … As we continue to grow we’re committed to seeing every one of those 14.5 billion pounds collected, recycled, and turned into a valuable new product for all of our benefits.”

Infinite Recycled Technologies has found Albert Lea to be an ideal place to locate its unique glass recycling business.

The facility opened in the south industrial park in 2020 and soon faced unprecedented challenges, which the company overcame with local support.

“Unbeknownst to us at the time was the fact that we would face strong headwinds with the COVID pandemic, which happened in a matter of weeks after we began operations in the spring of 2020,” Watson said. “The assistance that was provided allowed us to weather a very challenging time and grow our operation to the size it is today.”

He credits the city of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Economic Development Agency (ALEDA) for helping establish the facility. Gap loan financing in the amount of $140,000 became even more important in the days ahead.

The federal Small Business Administration, through a loan program, assisted Infinite with a government-secured loan to acquire the facility and equipment needed to begin production.

The facility employs 25 people and expects to add at least five more by the end of the year with a gross payroll of more than $1 million per year and an average wage of $20 per hour.

“I would also like to highlight the tremendous quality of employees that work for us in Albert Lea. The area has a great workforce that any company would be lucky to utilize as well as infrastructure that is very conducive to manufacturing. Overall, we are incredibly happy with our decision to locate in Albert Lea,” Watson said.

“We are proud to have helped Infinite Recycled Technologies make Albert Lea the location for their advanced process of recycling laminated glass,” ALEDA Board President Bryan Skogheim said. “Through partnership with the city, ALEDA was able to bring this innovative, family-owned company to Albert Lea by providing resources, support and gap financing. We look forward to their continued growth in Albert Lea.”