Trellis Earth to move manufacturing to Wilsonville
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Trellis Earth makes a variety of bio-based products that compete with plastics.
Bioplastics manufacturer Trellis Earth Products Inc. plans to build a $10-million manufacturing facility on its Wilsonville site in the first quarter of 2012 as the company aims to lower its prices and better compete with oil-based products.
The green-leaning company manufactures — in China at the moment — biodegradeable bags, including trash liners and doggie bags, takeout containers and cutlery.
Trellis Earth sells $500,000 in products each month to approximately 500 customers on the West Coast as well as in New York and Connecticut, including 65 food distributors. All of the Fred Meyers in a three-state region use their cutlery. QFC, Cash & Carry and Trader Joes are also customers.
Trellis Earth is raising money to move two thirds of its manufacturing from China to its 33,000-square-foot facility at 9125 S.W. Ridder Road in Wilsonville. Bag manufacturing will remain oversees. The transition is expected to reduce the price point of their other bioplastic products, bringing costs level with oil-based, standard plastic competitors for cutlery and takeout containers, in particular.
“This is the number one product we will make here in Oregon and we are absolutely going to be positioning that to cost parity with plastic products,” said Bill Collins, founder and CEO of five-year-old Trellis Earth. “If someone can convert to your products and not pay anymore than they pay for traditional plastic products, we say they have gone green for free.”
Moving consumers to their green utensils, bags and containers is Trellis Earth's ultimate goal and the level-off of price has the greatest chance to achieve it.
Lee van der Voo, lvdvoo*at*gmail.com, is a freelance writer for Sustainable Business Oregon.
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