Sonoco Plastics expansion underway

An $11.7 million expansion by Sonoco Plastics in Waynesville is now underway, landed in part thanks to $828,000 worth of economic incentives from the state, Haywood county and the town.

Sonoco is currently in the process of expanding its facility on Howell Mill Road off Russ Avenue by 17,000 square feet and transforming it into a 24-hour operation.

The company, which manufactures plastic packaging such as the trays used in frozen dinners, has already spent nearly $1 million on the expansion, said Mark Clasby, executive director of the Economic Development Commission, at a Haywood County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday. The new capital investment on the building expansion and equipment is estimated at $11.7 million.

Sonoco Plastics has operations in other locations, which were considered along with Waynesville for the expansion. Tax credits and grants sweetened the pot, in return for the funding, the company, formerly known as Associated Packaging, needed to add 35 jobs.

Last year, Sonoco Plastics employed 97 people. Now, the company has 132 full-time and 30 part-time employees.

The plant has received $175,000 in job creation grants from the North Carolina Rural Center so far. All funding from the Rural Center must pass through the county, which then disburses it.

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