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October 2006


SWACO & Rastra build green jobs for Ohio

New “green” jobs are on their way to Central Ohio. Trustees of The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) have voted a resolution in support of Rastra Technologies Inc., a building products company which plans to locate a factory in Central Ohio.

SWACO will apply for a $2 million loan from the Ohio Department of Development that will assist Rastra in locating in Columbus. Rastra will contribute $2.4 million in equity for the project. It will also request tax incentives from The City of Columbus. Within 3 to 4 years, the $4.4 million project is expected to create 40 to 50 jobs.

Rastra building panels are constructed of ground polystyrene and cement. The panels are used for home and commercial construction. When erected, the panel cavity is filled with concrete, and the product provides up to an R-40 insulation value. Over 80% of the Rastra panels are made from recycled product.

SWACO’s Franklin County landfill receives at least five tractor trailer loads of polystyrene everyday. That adds up to almost 87,000 cubic yards annually or 6% of the total yearly capacity at the landfill. The cost of space in the landfill for that volume of trash amounts to $695,000. While very useful during its initial stage, polystyrene can be hard to handle, hard to recycle, and it takes up a large volume of landfill space.

SWACO executive director Mike Long sees Rastra’s commitment to Central Ohio as additional proof that Greater Columbus can become a hub for green development. “We believe Rastra can become a model for others. As other green companies see the success Rastra has locally, they will follow. We can create jobs to grow our economy, while at the same time improve our environment.”

Under terms of the agreement with SWACO, half of the equipment will be owned by SWACO until the loan is paid off. The rest of the equipment will be used a collateral. A site for the factory is expected to be selected by mid-September.


  • The project totals $4.4-million. SWACO will ask the state of Ohio for $2-million in loans. The rest will be financed by Rastra using half of the value of the equipment as collateral. Rastra will ask the City of Columbus for tax incentives.
  • The project is expected to create 40 to 50 jobs over 3-4 years.
  • A location for the plant is expected to be announced by mid-September.
  • Rastra building panels are constructed of cement and polystyrene. 80% of the product content is made from recycled material. The panels are fireproof, termite proof, and resist moisture and high winds.
  • SWACO’s Franklin County landfill receives at least 5 tractor-trailer loads of polystyrene daily. That is about 87,000 cubic yards or 6% of the annual landfill capacity. The cost to landfill that amount of trash in the landfill is $695,000.
  • Polystyrene is hard to handle and hard to recycle.
  • Sites in Nevada and Florida were also considered for the plant.
  • Rastra has one factory in the United States. It is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • The walls of “My House” at The North American exhibit of The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are constructed of Rastra. Students from 63 schools in Franklin County collected their polystyrene lunch trays in 2000 to help build the Rasta panels for the project.

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