Local plastics company ‘going green’

One local business said the opportunity to “go green” presented itself and it is planning to maximize its potential.

While driving along Route 8, near downtown Shelton or Exit 14, passersby will begin to see some major changes taking place on top of the Inline Plastics building’s roof.

The business, which is known for its manufacturing of plastic used for packaging food, is planning to add more than 2,500 solar panels to its roof to help create a more environmentally friendly source of energy.

“Our plant and machines are running 24/7,” said Tom Orkisz, president and owner of Inline Plastics Corp. “We aren’t extreme in terms of sustainability, whereas some companies will go to the extreme to even increase their costs to do something more sustainable. We don’t have that luxury and our competition wouldn’t allow that. Whenever there’s an opportunity to be more sustainable or environmentally sensible, we do it. Solar energy today — with federal incentives it is economically sound and made sense for us. It’s good for the environment and the right thing to do if you can afford it. Why not keep the environment fresher?”

Orkisz said the project cost a total of $3 million and is expected to save the company 15% of what it spends annually on the facility’s total electricity usage.

Inline Plastics partnered with New York-based, EnterSolar for the design and installation of the 965-kilowatt system. To put things in perspective, Orkisz said, the average home solar system is a 5-kW system. Once the project is completed, it will produce more than 1.2 million kWh of electricity annually, which is equal to 15% of the facility’s usage.

“We’re maxing out our solar capabilities with this building,” said Orkisz. “We had to put a new roof on first because it was getting old, so it didn’t make sense to put new panels on an old roof.”

The building’s roof is now complete and the panels are currently all stacked outside the Inline building. This week the panels are being put on the roof. According to Orkisz, the project is scheduled to be completed by early January.

“We’re in the final stretch,” said Orkisz. “Inline is proud to lead the way within our local and state communities by adopting clean and renewable power sources.”

Orkisz said the Shelton plant is the first of three to incorporate the solar panels into its business plan. The company produces 7.5 million cases of product, and each case has about 250 pieces in it.

Inline Plastics Corp. will celebrate its 50-year anniversary in March.