Envirolastech Inc., a Rochester-based startup that recycles garbage from landfills and creates building materials, will invest $3 million to open its first production facility.
The 18,000-square-foot manufacturing plant will be in Chattanooga Innovation Park, located in St. Charles. Envirolastech said it will spend $1 million to build the facility and another $2 million for the machinery and equipment it will need to create the siding, flooring and other building materials made from its patented thermoplastic.
The company said it chose the St. Charles site for its close proximity to Interstate 90 and Winona State University, which has a polymer engineering program. Envirolastech plans to hire 26 workers for the facility over the next two years. Those jobs are expected to offer an average pay wage of about $15.50 an hour.
“Envirolastech is bringing needed employment investment to a community that was devastated when North Star Foods closed after a fire in 2009,” said Shawntera Hardy, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Economic Development (DEED).
DEED said it would be supporting Envirolastech’s project with a grant totaling more than $183,700, which will be provided after the company meets its hiring and investment commitments.
When Rochester native Paul Schmitt founded Envirolastech in 2012, he entered the company into the Minnesota Cup—the largest statewide entrepreneurial competition in the nation. The company’s unique concept, which transforms materials like plastics and glass into a substitute for lumber and concrete blocks, earned it top prize in the Minnesota Cup’s clean technology and renewable energy division.
This is the company’s first major investment in Minnesota following a number of crowdfunding efforts in recent years.

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