Innovative recycling facility breaks ground in Goodfield

By Audrey Wise

June 27, 2013 Updated Jun 28, 2013 at 11:27 AM CDT

GOODFIELD, Ill. -- In Illinois about five million pounds of scrap wood is taken to landfills every day.

"They do not have to go to the landfill, they do not have to be burnt in the back yard, they do not have to be wasted," said Paul Wever, President of Chip Energy.

Wever is hoping to change that with his new company.

"We take that low value material, be it grasses, leaves, energy crop, woody biomass, all those types of materials will be pre-processed at this level and these types of facilities," he said.

The company will then make several products, some to be packaged at the plant, others to be sent out for further processing.

"Erosion control material, mulch, we'll be making a briquette that can actually be introduced into the coal burning process to make electricity," said Wever. "We'll be making a small pellet where people, if they want to, can run them in their small furnaces in their homes. We'll be making logs that you can use in your fireplace."

Besides using recycled materials to make new products, the building is also made out of recycled goods. In total the building will be five stories high, using 60 cargo containers. It will be a one-of-a-kind facility.

"We presently import more shipping containers than we export," said Wever. "I have found them to be extremely useful in the construction of an industrial processing facility."

Wever expects the plant will be fully operational at the end of 2014 and employ six to eight people.

Those are good jobs, the Illinois Department of Commerce is interested in. That's why they awarded Wever a $200,000 energy grant.

"This is the type of company that is not only good for the environment, it actually saves more for all of us as well by lowering energy costs. That's really groundbreaking and we wanted to invest in it," said Dan Seals, Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce.

Wever hopes to one day duplicate this facility and process hundreds of times both state and nationwide.

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