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Geocycle’s New Allegany County Pre-Processing Plant Transforms Waste into Resources

Posted on 5/21/2024

737 words

 |  4 min. read

World Player in Circular Economy, Geocycle, Opens Pre-Processing Facility near Cumberland

Geocycle Ribbon Cutting Group Photo
The Geocycle Ribbon cutting was attended by global employees, Allegany County staff, and local Chamber of Commerce members.

Geocycle officially opened its pre-processing facility in Cumberland on May 16, 2024, marking the company’s 197th location worldwide. The new facility will convert unusable waste products into viable fuels, creating local jobs and providing an environmentally sound waste removal option for local and regional manufacturing businesses.

“Geocycle’s investment in Allegany County is a big deal,” shares Jeffrey Barclay, director of Allegany County Economic and Community Development (ACECD). “They are a multi-billion dollar company with a global presence. Not only does Geocycle bring jobs and living wages to our community, but their status as a key industry player brings attention to Allegany County’s growing notoriety in the circular economy.”

Geocycle Ribbon Cutting Jeff Barclay Remarks
Jeff Barclay, Director of ACECD, delivers remarks to the crowd at the ribbon cutting of Geocycle's new plant. Behind him are (left to right) Toufic Tabbara, Holcim Region Head for North America Region, and Juli McCoy, Executive Director of Allegany County Chamber of Commerce.

Geocycle is a global leader in co-processing technologies. This practice transforms industrial waste—such as end-of-life tires, wastewater, solvents, and other unusable materials—into alternative fuels using a sophisticated kiln-firing process. Materials are collected, shredded, and prepared in Geocycle’s pre-processing plants and are then sent to a co-processing plant, where they undergo the kilning process to become alternative fuels. The end product is supplied to manufacturers to replace traditional fossil fuels used in their operations. Co-processing has proven beneficial for repurposing materials in an environmentally friendly way, providing an alternative to incineration.

In 2022, Geocycle was searching for a new Mid-Atlantic pre-processing location to better serve the needs of regional waste producers and alternative fuel users between their existing Pennsylvania and North Carolina pre-processing plants.

“Not only does Geocycle bring jobs and living wages to our community, but their status as a key industry player brings attention to Allegany County’s growing notoriety in the circular economy.” - Jeff Barclay, Director, ACECD
Geocycle Ribbon Cutting Raju And Geocycle Employees
A group of Geocycle employees listen to the opening remarks at the ribbon cutting. Raju Subba, center wearing goggles, led the build-out of the Allegany County-owned shell building.

Paolo Carollo, Head of US East Geocycle North America, explains, “We had a chance to start doing business with Allegany County, and during our interactions, Geocycle’s team began discussing available space in the county that could fit our needs for a pre-processing plant with the Allegany County Economic and Community Development team.”

Allegany County’s position between Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and other metropolitan areas made it ideal for collecting waste from all regions. This waste could then be processed and fed to Geocycle’s Hagerstown co-processing plant for conversion. “We had been searching for the right location for a long time. It was a mix of luck and creating good connections,” Carollo adds.

A 40,000-square-foot empty “shell” facility, built in 2016, caught the eye of Carollo and his team. The county had searched for a tenant that could bring jobs into the area. Geocycle matched Allegany County’s desire for a job-creating business that would fit into their growing circular economy sector

Geocycle Ribbon Cutting Paolo Carollo
Paolo Carallo, Head of US East Geocycle North America, leads a tour of their new, Allegany County facility.

“Geocycle’s interest in Cumberland, even before they came here physically, helped us gain exposure within the circular economy,” said Barclay. “It didn't take long before other companies began reaching out about establishing themselves in Allegany.” Since the initial talks with Geocycle, Allegany County has welcomed other businesses in the circular economy, such as Clym Environmental and Nexus W2V, LLC.

Geocycle engaged in a five-year lease on the property, with the agreement that Allegany County would make tenant improvements to update the building within the first six months of the contract. Updates include adding office spaces, increased electrical capacity, trucking access, and other amendments necessary for pre-processing. The lease agreement has renewal options that could result in a twenty-five-year tenancy.

Geocycle Ribbon Cutting Sophie Wu And Jason Bennett
Sophie Wu, Head of Geocycle North America, meets Jason Bennett, County Administrator. Behind her are (left to right) Geocycle representative Paul Park, and ACECD staff Nathan Price, Jeff Barclay and Adam Strott.

“We were pleased to start the project and complete the improvements in a few months. We really felt that the ACECD team was a reliable partner in this and made things come together,” said Carollo.

Geocycle also benefited from the State of Maryland’s Enterprise Zone Tax Credit, which will help the company establish the success of this location by reducing its tax expenses during the initial years of operation.

“We intend to leverage Cumberland and the Mid-Atlantic’s full potential,” said Carollo. “A big part of our decision to locate in Cumberland was the ability to hire from their strong manufacturing workforce.”

“We intend to leverage Cumberland and the Mid-Atlantic’s full potential. A big part of our decision to locate in Cumberland was the ability to hire from their strong manufacturing workforce.” - Paolo Carollo, Head of US East Geocycle North America
Geocycle Ribbon Cutting Comissioner Atkinson
Allegany County Commissioner Bill Atkinson holds the ceremonial scissors used for the ribbon cutting. He and the other commissioners approved the lease of building to Geocycle last year.

The company hired eleven local employees to operate all aspects of the plant, from office positions and supervisors to manufacturing workers. Indirectly, an additional 20 to 30 jobs are estimated to come into Cumberland through trucking and other related aspects of co-processing. Once up to full operational capacity, Geocycle estimates the Cumberland location will process 75,000 tons of waste annually.

“The circular economy can be considered a non-traditional industry to pursue,” shares Barclay. “We’re thankful that our County Commissioners, Administrators, and team members believed in the ACECD’s mission and helped us welcome Geocycle into the community. We look forward to a lot of collaboration and success in the future.”

Read other business stories from Allegany County here.

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