West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle will become home to a $50 million food packaging plant making food trays from expanded PET.Treplar
, a joint venture between Klarpet
of Aliağa, Turkey, and Triton International Enterprises
of Woodbridge, Va., selected Martinsburg in Berkeley County for the company's new facility projected to ultimately employ more than 600 workers.
"Our journey began many years ago with a simple question: How can we reimagine packaging to be both functional and environmentally responsible," Treplar President Murat Ogulcan at a recent the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce meeting.
"Our new product is a catalyst for change," he said.
Treplar will produce expanded PET trays, carryout containers and plates with the aim of eating into the market of for expanded polystyrene products. Because the company is using PET, Treplar believes its products will be more recyclable than EPS counterparts.
The company also is testing food packaging the company hopes will be 100 percent home compostable.
"This company is on the cutting edge of making a product that is food wrapping that is completely biodegradable at home," W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice said in announcing the project in front of the chamber.
Treplar expects to begin production late this year with an initial investment of $20 million for the first year and a workforce of about 100. The company anticipates what it terms "rapid growth" with the total investment growing to $50 million and staff reaching approximately 600 by the third year.
"The company has successfully set up its state of the art facility, deployed cutting edge equipment and has hired a skilled workforce aiming to begin production in the upcoming months," Justice said.
Klarpet makes PET films in Turkey, and Triton International Enterprises makes films, bags, trays and machinery.
"This venture exemplifies our commitment to producing sustainable and eco-friendly packaging materials and addressing critical waste challenges for the retail food industry. Together, with the great state of West Virginia, we aim to revolutionize the industry and set new benchmarks for sustainability," Ogulcan said in a statement.
During his brief comments to the West Virginia chamber, the Treplar president leaned into the company's new location. "Although our journey started far from here. We found a new home in West Virginia. Today everyone in our company Treplar sings only one song. 'Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong,' said Ogulcan, who is also CEO at Triton International Enterprises.