A large gathering of industry, county and city officials assembled in the Knox Business Park June 19 for the long-awaited ground-breaking for AgroRenew, called by several “a transformational day.” The company, which is expected to create more than 300 local jobs, represents “a truly transformational opportunity…In a city and county of firsts,” said Drew Garretson in the Vincennes Sun-Commercial.

Describing the company, the Sun-Commercial reported: “AgroRenew’s bioplastics manufacturing plant will transform produce waste and blend it with other bio-sources to form a resin polymer that will then be sent to plastics manufacturers to be developed into biodegradable plastics.”

According to Inside Indiana Business, AgroRenew will “transform crop waste from Knox County melon farms” with promising technology that has attracted considerable attention ranging from plastics manufacturers to state governments seeking bio-sustainable products.

Plant waste to high-quality bioplastic

Brian Southern, founder and CEO of AgroRenew, told Inside Indiana Business that “watermelon, pumpkin and cantaloupe farms in the Wabash Valley have already signed on to send their waste to AgroRenew.”

IIB reported: “The melon waste will be trucked to the facility, where AgroRenew’s unique process pulverizes, dehydrates and grinds the melon waste. At the end of the production line are the same small pellets that are traditionally used in the plastics industry, except these will be fully biodegradable.”

At full capacity, AgroRenew’s new facility is forecast to produce “more than two million pounds of plastic pellets per day.” According to the Vincennes Sun-Commercial, “There has been so much interest, Southern recently told elected officials, that their first two years of production has already been sold.”

The innovative plant is expected to fashion a new supply chain of materials and product, creating a supporting cluster industry of facilities to support AgroRenew.

Nichole Like, CEO of The Pantheon business center, told the assembled crowd that AgroRenew “serves as a ‘transformational business opportunity’ that will ‘create great careers and generational wealth’ for Knox County.”

“Making history”

The Pantheon served as a critical catalyst in developing the AgroRenew process and the planning for the facility. Chris Pfaff noted that the Pantheon, Vincennes University and other partnerships are “making history” for the region.

“We have the right people at the right organizations and the right leadership in Knox County at this point in history to make great things happen,” he said.

Southern told WTHI-TV that he and his wife Katie Southern, co-founder and Chief Science Officer for AgroRenew, founded the company to help both the environment and the community. “We believe that the community that you live in, the more that you can take care of it and provide good opportunities for that community, the more that community’s going to thrive,” said Southern in an WTHI interview.

The news station reported: “Southern wants AgroRenew to bring people back to their hometown to work and to have an opportunity of a lifetime when doing so.”

The new Vincennes facility in the Knox Business Park will also include a Bioplastics Innovation Center, a 16,000-square-foot research facility that will be adjacent to 21 acres of experimental crop development.

A “beacon of what’s possible”

Southern called AgroRenew — and the partnerships that have developed in the months since — a “beacon of what is possible” when people work together, reported the Sun-Commercial.

AgroRenew is presently recruiting professionals for the first phase of growth. Read more at https://agrorenew.org/media/

For more information, please visit the AgroRenew website.