With support from New York state, Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise, Trellis Earth Products recently announced that the company will move its manufacturing operations from China and launch its first U.S. manufacturing facility outside of Rochester, N.Y. Trellis, a manufacturer of sustainable food-service products, will invest $8.3 million to establish its new headquarters at the Rochester Technology Park and create 189 jobs. The company expects to be operational by the second quarter of 2014.
By end of this year, Trellis will begin renovations on a new 80,000-square-foot facility in Rochester Technology Park. The company will gear up to manufacture more than 50 million forks, knives and spoons monthly at its new facility. Trellis also plans to eventually manufacture food-service flatware and flexible products, including clamshells, school lunch trays, plastic bags and plates, at its Rochester facility.
All products at the new facility will be made from Trellis' very popular bioplastic blend, which comprises primarily plant starch, greatly reducing petrochemical consumption and lessening the burden on landfills. Trellis will be the first bioplastics company to make branded goods in a vertically integrated facility that takes raw materials through all phases of production for food-service customers.
"When we considered moving our manufacturing operations back to the U.S. from China, we sought a location that would place us close to our customers," Trellis Earth Products CEO Mike Senzaki said. "The cost of labor and shipping are rising in China, and we see the value of being a New York-based manufacturing company where we can also be close to our major markets and have access to the resources and support services we need to launch a world-class manufacturing facility."
Trellis' move to Rochester is supported by Empire State Development, with an incentive package that directly ties to job creation and contributions to the local economy. ESD will provide $1.5 million in Excelsior tax credits and a $500,000 capital grant. Trellis has committed to creating 189 full-time jobs by June 2018 and investing $8.34 million. Monroe County also has agreed to commit resources, including up to $500,000 in low-interest financing, up to $300,000 in an interest subsidy, $50,000 for training and possible rebates on equipment purchases.
"Our community's close proximity to major U.S. markets without major market costs played a role in Trellis Earth's decision to shift its manufacturing facility from China to Rochester, N.Y.," Greater Rochester Enterprise President & CEO Mark S. Peterson said. "Rochester's strength as a hub of energy innovation will also further accelerate Trellis Earth's business plans to expand its eco-friendly food-service products line."
Trellis makes more than 100 branded products — all non-petroleum-based, or bioplastics, as they are known in the industry. These eco-friendly products are distributed by major food-service companies in the U.S. to more than 1,000 customers nationally. The company was started in Oregon in 2005, catering primarily to customers searching for greener alternatives to conventional plastic disposable packaging for takeout food. For more information about Trellis Earth Products visit www.trellisearth.com/.