A grand opening event was held at the Florence Recycling Center on Sept. 18. Pictured from left are State Senator Yancy McGill; Rusty Smith, Florence County council chairman; South Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt; State Senator Hugh Leatherman; Alex Molinaroli, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions; Cindy Coward, Florence Recycling Center HR manager; Steve Ewart, Florence Recycling Center plant manager; State Senator Kent Williams; Nancy Cave, Coastal Conservation League; Florence Mayor Steve Wukela; and State Representative Terry Alexander.
Johnson Controls opens automotive battery recycling facility in Florence, South Carolina
Florence Recycling Center opens on schedule with strong community support
Johnson Controls announced the opening of its Florence Recycling Center for automotive batteries on Sept. 18, 2012. The facility expands Johnson Controls’ presence in Florence with a capital investment of more than $150 million, representing 250 new jobs, and 1,000 indirect jobs in the area. Currently, 200 employees are working onsite as the facility ramps up production.
To acknowledge the plant’s launch, a grand opening event was held at the facility with more than 300 area leaders, community members and Johnson Controls’ team members in attendance. South Carolina State Sens. Hugh Leatherman, Yancey McGill and Kent Williams were in attendance, as well as Representative Terry Alexander, County Council Chairman K.G. Rusty Smith and Florence Mayor Steve Wukela.
“We’re proud to bring a recycling facility to Florence, resulting in a strong capital investment and many jobs to the area,” said Alex Molinaroli, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “We are appreciative to all those who helped support us along the way and we look forward to a strong continued relationship with the Florence community.”
The facility, located directly off of US-76, on Paper Mill Road, will recycle 132,000 metric tons per year, or the equivalent of more than 14 million automotive batteries. It sits on a 685-acre site near other major corporate leaders such as Roche Carolina and Smurfit-Stone. Johnson Controls developed 36 acres of the site for construction of the facility and adjacent parking areas, with the remaining acreage undeveloped. Portions of the site will be permanently protected through a conservation easement.
“The steps taken by Johnson Controls to maximize economic impact and minimize environmental effects on our area are commendable and extremely important to our citizens,” said Sen. Hugh Leatherman. “Throughout the process, many worked with Johnson Controls to ensure that citizens’ concerns were heard and that we had the support of entire area. This was critical in bringing the recycling center to Florence and will help ensure its success.”
As part of the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship, Johnson Controls will minimize its environmental footprint within the state by protecting sensitive habitats, managing habitat for wildlife, participating in the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Stewardship Program, and storm water management.
Since the 2011 groundbreaking, Johnson Controls has worked closely with area leaders and citizens to integrate itself into the community through efforts with the United Way, the development of Project H.O.P.E. and fundraising work with Harvest Hope Food Bank.
“Johnson Controls’ new facility has already had a positive catalytic effect across the region,” said Francis Marion University President Fred Carter. “Through the process of developing the new center, the company’s leadership has established a strong sense of collaboration and cooperation. We’re delighted to welcome our new neighbors.”