By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
ARLINGTON — More than 200 jobs are scheduled to be added this year at MicroGreen Polymers, which uses innovative technology to make food and beverage containers from recycled plastic.
The company last month received a $5 million investment from the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. The investment allows MicroGreen to expand is commercial production sooner than anticipated, said Tom Malone, who serves as president and chief executive officer of the company.
MicroGreen is in the midst of raising another $15 million to support its expansion and its ability to “produce a wide range of environmentally responsible, recyclable cups and trays for consumer use,” Malone said.
After reading about MicroGreen in The Herald earlier this year, Koran Andrews, the Stillaguamish Tribe’s enterprise corporation chief executive officer, made a visit to the company.
“After I read about MicroGreen, I thought, ‘Wow, this is really cool.’ I made an appointment to take a tour with the idea that we would buy their InCycle beverage cups for our Angel of the Winds casino,” Andrews said. “As the technology was explained to me, I realized that the MicroGreen goal is the same as the tribe’s, to save the Earth for the next generation.”
The Stillaguamish Tribe had been looking to diversify its investment portfolio and the opportunity at MicroGreen was a perfect fit, Andrews said.
“We don’t want all of our eggs in the casino basket. And our goal is to show our appreciation to the community by partnering with the city of Arlington on civic projects and supporting the businesses here. We all live together,” Andrews said. “As a tribal member and business leader, I find it important that we support our community and that we do better than most average companies. We’re already responsible for more than 700 good jobs in north Snohomish County, and now we’ve played a part in helping to add another 200 jobs at MicroGreen. Living-wage jobs with benefits. Jobs that don’t require a commute.”
Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said she is thrilled with the partnerships the tribe is pursuing.
“The generosity from the tribe has been consistent,” Tolbert said. “And to see the tribe invest in a company that is investing in Arlington is spectacular. MicroGreen is a company on the move.”
MicroGreen company officials are pleased to have the Stillaguamish Tribe as an investor and a customer, Malone said.
“The financial support is important, but it also feels good that our sustainability ethos resonated particularly well with the tribe,” he said.
MicroGreen, located in the Jensen Business Park in Arlington, currently employs about 45 people. The inspiration for its InCycle cup was a desire to reduce the amount of plastic in garbage dumps, Malone said. InCycle is made from recycled water bottles through a low-cost process that results in a lighter party cup that its makers say keeps beer colder longer, doesn’t crack and can be thrown back into the recycling bin.
The company’s investors, including Waste Management and others, are pleased to see MicroGreen developing products for airlines, food processors and restaurants, Malone said.
The InCycle plastic cup is being offered seasonally in a San Francisco Bay area Costco test market. Sales went well last summer. At some point, people in Snohomish County should be able to buy InCycle cups at Costco. In the meantime, the cups are available for sale online at Amazon.com. MicroGreen Polymers Inc. was founded by graduate researchers at the University of Washington in 2006. More information is at www.microgreeninc.com.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
People interested in inquiring about new jobs at MicroGreen Polymers should contact Select Staffing, 1000 SE Everett Mall Way, Suite 410, Everett, WA 98208, or call 425-374-5858.