Dec 17, 2017 News
-going ‘green’ with biodegradable products from next year
By Leonard Gildarie
It has only been a few months in operation, but the impact of plastic manufacturer, Flexotech Inc., is continuing to make waves on the local market.
A few days ago, the recognition for the flexo T-shirt and shopping bags and the big game changer- packaging for rice and flour- could have never been more evident after the company accepted a major award.
During the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association annual awards event, the Diamond-headquartered Flexotech copped the President’s Award in recognition of the company’s critical role in providing flexible packaging support to the manufacturing sector.
The company is already targeting the first quarter of 2018 to start breaking even, no easy feat when competition comes in the form of smuggling and poorer, cheaper quality.
According to manager, Paulo Melo, his company is very cognizant of the critical role being played by the manufacturing sector to the country’s growth.
“This award from GMSA reminds us that we will have a challenging and exciting job to do in 2018.”
“Today’s consumer is not only demanding, but also aware. The products that don’t cater to their taste or cause will definitely be off the shelves sooner than later. Besides, all consumers are constantly looking for value of money. This increased consumption forces companies to develop solutions to address the problem and learn how to do more with less, while dealing with the rising costs of energy, cash flow and raw materials.”
An enthusiastic Melo noted that there are many aspects of flexible packaging that have given a fillip to its demand in the market.
”Convenience, durability, cost effectiveness, designability, eco-friendliness etc, are some aspects that have made plastics a darling for the manufacturers. Within plastics, flexible packaging is the segment that has actually caught the attention of the end users,” the executive explained.
“We have our local market flooded with products from our neighbours, whereby the same products are also produced locally, but without any value added, making the foreign products more attractive. This market share alone is a significant one for various products. Just stop and check your basket when you’ve finished shopping, you will see so many products which are produced in Guyana, but are not on shelves.”
Today, Flexotech Inc. produces all types of flexible packaging including printed film for packaging grain and powder – rice, sugar, flour, milk and even salt.
“We produce printed bags for any packaging purposes, as well as wraps for the food and industrial process. We are also able to brand your product and make it reach more customers.”
As if that is not enough, the company is already looking down the road at Guyana’s move to go green. It has signed a partnership with P-LIFE, a company from the USA, which specializes in oxi-biodegradable products.
Why is that important for Guyana?
Well, the country, like many developing ones, is continuing to face environmental problems with plastic clogging up waterways and being unsightly to the eyes.
The contract with the US company will allow Flexotech to deal with a special product that quickens the pace in plastic degradation.
The administration has been speaking about this and signaling incentives for manufacturers who walk this route.
“I can tell you from January 1st, all our t-shirt bags will be oxi-biodegradable, thereby confirming our commitment to the sustainable development of the country’s economy. Even with an unfair competition for plastic bags imported into the Guyana market, we will produce only oxi-biodegradable bags, and we believe that the local market will embrace our cause as well,” Melo posited.
Since opening for business earlier this year, the company has managed to snag several large rice companies, at least one big drinks manufacturer, and even the flour mill company has shown more than an intense interest.
Melo had said then that his company’s presence here is a game-changer for manufacturers and retailers, who have been spending millions of dollars annually to import packaging materials and other items to add value to their products.
”Let me make it clear that no longer will our companies be forced to expend tens of millions of dollars on inventory from abroad in packaging material and shopping bags. We are producing them right here in Guyana,” Melo stressed during a tour of his factory.
The company has partnered with the well-known Karibee rice producers from Berbice, Nand Persaud and Company Limited, in plunging a $500M major investment in cutting-edge technology and training for Guyanese.
”We have more than 90 percent of the 20-odd staffers being Guyanese, people who go home for lunch in Diamond, and who have been trained to run the machines themselves.”
The venture makes a whole lot of sense. The local market has a demand of up to 100,000 kilos of plastic monthly…including garbage bags, T-shirt bags and packaging materials for rice, sugar and wraps.
”Of course the drinks and other companies, like the construction firms, also have a demand. We want to target them.”
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