MXI forms new company, Third Eye Products, LLC, to manage sales, marketing, and distribution of new paint products. The first products will debut for sale at Housatonic Habitat For Humanity ReStore in Danbury CT on July 27th 2018.
Langhorne, PA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/18/2018 --MXI Environmental Services, LLC (MXI), an environmental services firm that specializes in managing household hazardous waste (HHW) events for state and local governments, is announcing that the company is launching a line of paint and coating products made with the recycled waste paint collected at their HHW events. The Managing Members of MXI have formed a new company called Third Eye Products, LLC, which will manage the sales, marketing, and distribution efforts for the recycled paint.
The first two products, an interior wall paint under the brand Full Circle Paints & Coatings and a chalked craft furniture paint named Old Man Potter's, will be debuted for sale at the Housatonic Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Danbury CT on July 27th, 2018 at 12pm. The company is also offering small and large quantities of the Full Circle Paint to local governments in New Jersey and Connecticut as donations to the local communities for pilot projects and graffiti removal.
"We are very excited to make our first sales here in the United States. MXI is committed to latex paint recycling and keeping it out of the landfills. We are also now confident that we are producing a great product at a low price. This is a great value buy for consumers and a great example to show how we value corporate social responsibility," said MXI's President and CEO Ron Potter.
The Genesis of MXI's Latex Paint Recycling Program and Third Eye Products
MXI is owned by Ron Potter and operated by his sons Brian and Craig. The company was formed 1994 to provide field services work and waste management consulting to the customers being served by Ron's trucking company Maumee Express Inc., which is now a nationally permitted hazardous waste hauler. The company has been in business since 1961 and was originally run by Ron's father C.G. Potter. Ron explained, "Maumee Express and MXI Environmental Services operate synergistically as one third generation operation."
In 2001 MXI ran it's first HHW event and has grown that business dramatically under the oversight of Special Programs Director, Marc Kodrowski. The initiative to recycle latex paint began for MXI in 2013 when Connecticut's Paint Stewardship Program began. Part of the Paint Stewardship Program involves mandating the recycling of waste latex paint collected at the HHW events. MXI has managed HHW collections in Connecticut since 2008 and currently manages the HHW events for the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resource Recovery Authority, the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority, The Metropolitan District in Hartford, the Town of Shelton, and many more.
The new Paint Stewardship Program forced the management at MXI to make a decision on whether they needed to find a company that recycled the paint they collected or to recycle the paint themselves. "At first we were a little worried. Latex paint was not hazardous and was typically landfilled at a very low cost, which is unfortunate. But that's what you needed to do to remain competitive because that's how everyone else managed it. Before the Connecticut Paint Stewardship Program, I had so serious thoughts about recycling it because I had heard horror stories of past attempts by other companies. But my son Craig immediately jumped up and down and urged us to start developing the capability to recycle the latex and my other son Brian agreed wholeheartedly, so it began," Mr. Potter said when reflecting on the decision to begin recycling latex paint.
When Craig Potter, current Vice President for the Northeast Region, first began working for his father and brother at MXI in 2008, he was astonished with the volume of latex paint collected at the HHW events. "I remember seeing multiple 30 yard roll offs being filled with latex paint at the first HHW event I attended. I was new and my first job was to stack the paint in the roll offs. So much of it looked brand new and I knew then there was potential there."
In 2013 Craig was the Manager of MXI's Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Abingdon, Virginia, which processes all the waste material collected at the company's HHW events. When the opportunity to expand into recycling latex paint was presented at a company meeting, Craig pushed hard to spearhead the program. "I knew we just needed the right push and Connecticut's Paint Stewardship program was it. At that point I knew we needed to go all in," Craig said. "I do have to admit that though, at the time, I didn't know if we had the resources to pull it off."
Redwood – MXI's Latex Paint Recycling Facility
MXI's MRF was a very busy place in 2013. The company was processing HHW materials during the day and growing every year. At night the MRF was processing waste beverages and perfumes for the company's alcohol recycling operations. With over 30 million pounds of waste to process a year and less than 40,000 square feet to do it, Craig needed to figure out how he could fit in recycling waste latex paint. "There wasn't much room at all without sacrificing safety, which was not an option. We had the HHW waste by the truckloads, at least two alcohol loads a day, the commodities like glass and aluminum we were recycling, and the supplies we used to pack the waste in the field all being managed in a tight space. We used every square inch and I was worried that I might have bitten off more than I could chew with a latex paint recycling."
At that time, across town in Abingdon sat a large 125,000 square foot warehouse that was empty and rotting at 290 Stone Mill Road. The building had been occupied by Dominion Truss Company but was abandoned in 2011 after incurring severe damage to the roof when it was hit by a tornado. The building was flooded, rotting, and molding. The building was beginning to be a nuisance for the town as neighbors began reporting break-ins and vandalism.
Brian Potter had known the previous owner and was informed by a mutal friend that the building was for sale. Ron Potter and his sons bought the building at the end of 2013 and renamed it "Redwood" as a homage to the road the Potters lived on when Brian and Craig were growing up. The intent was using Redwood to support the company's operations. "The building really is amazing. The bones are strong and it had so much potential and was so close to our MRF," said Brian Potter, the Chief Operations Officer for MXI Environmental Services. "And we knew it was going to need a lot of work. We might not have anticipated how much."
Redwood immediately needed $50,000 worth of work to the roof just to stop the rain from coming in. The roof also needed several spots reinforced and to be seal coated. That was only the beginning. The electrical system had to be almost completely rewired. Offices in large sections of the building were covered in mold and needed to be demolished. The fire suppression system was in need of serious repairs, and the place was filled with wood, garbage, and old equipment. "It was overwhelming once we get involved. The first six months we were leveraging out our key people from the other operations to get to the point where we could occupy it. I remember telling my dad that we needed some help getting Redwood fixed because we just didn't have the staff to address these issues," Brian said. "The only operations we conducted there in 2014 was cleaning and some storage."
Ron Potter knew he had to find someone to spearhead repairing Redwood. The first person that immediately jumped into Ron's mind was his cousin, Joe Potter. Joe was working in Ohio, where he was born and raised by Ron's favorite uncle Ray Potter, as handyman. "Joe had done some projects for me in the past and his work was just impeccable. When Joe fixes something he does it right. He's extremely methodical. He was the only person in the world I felt could come in and fix this place up right," commented Ron.
Joe had developed a reputation for doing a great job restoring old barns for people with farms and had just finished a big project when Ron called him. "Usually that work died down for me in the winter and Ron called me in the fall of 2014. So I loaded up my van and made plans to travel down for a few days." When Joe arrived he gave Ron a pretty stark assessment of Redwood. "I told him the roof still had significantly more work that needed to be done and spent the rest of dinner detailing all the problems throughout the building. And I was still going when we cleaned up after dessert. It was a big project that would take me longer than a few months. I didn't expect him to hire me full time but that's what happened."
Over the course of the winter of 2014 into the spring of 2015 Joe began working at Redwood and joined MXI as a Maintenance Manager. He fixed the electrical system, made sure the roof was in good shape, fixed the fire suppression system, all the doors worked, threw a fresh coat of paint on the walls, redid the office space, fixed the drainage system outside, replace most of the lighting, remove unused equipment, amongst other things. Beyond the big projects were countless small projects to make the building function and look good. While repairing Redwood Joe has the chance to do significant work the other facilities. "Without Joe I'm not sure how we would have gotten this done," Brian Potter said while reflecting on MXI's development. "He was able to find solutions to longstanding problems at our other facilities as well as Redwood. He truly was a godsend and continues to be."
Once Joe got Redwood in order, the next step was how to equip the building to support the latex paint recycling operations. Joe, Craig, Brian, and the former MRF Manager (who at the time was recently promoted), Jonathan Linder all met to discuss how to modify the process now that there was operating space. After coming up with a plan Joe custom build processing equipment. "It was incredible. We jotted down some notes on paper and practically over night Joe had built elevated slide tables, packing equipment, and setup the sanitation equipment," Brian recalled.
"In 2015 Joe had gotten us to the point that we needed to be in order to begin our waste paint recycling in full earnest. Joe is a big part of our journey and is as responsible as anyone for getting us to this point. Jonathan then took the horse by the reins and oversaw the operations moving forward" Craig Potter said.
Third Eye Products
Once MXI refined it processes for recycling and refining the recycled latex paint, the company needed to develop markets for the materials. The domestic US market was a tough to break into for numerous reasons. MXI initially partnered with Legacy Paints and Coatings owned by David Boersma. Eventually, Legacy and MXI merged their paint sales operations into a new company Third Eye Products that owns the brands, Full Circle and Old Man Potters.
“We were really happy to be able to partner with Dave Boersma. He has a long career of successfully marketing paint and other home and building products. He give us a lot of insight to the market. We have established a good overseas market for our material. There are growing 2nd and 3rd world countries that are hungry for effective low cost coatings. However, the US market is a tough one to crack and we wanted to make sure our products were ready for it,” said Brian. “We worked very hard with industry consultants and internally to help us refine the process. And I think we are finally there.”
The Paint Chemist, Dempsey Shell, and his team can mix batches of up to 4000 gallons and maintain color consistency. “We are in our infancy. We wanted to make sure the product was good before we went to market. The paint’s performance is fantastic so we are there,” said Craig Potter. “We are launching our first color for Full Circle, which is a very neutral beige we call ‘Cashew’ and a slightly darker ‘Mushroom.’ Soon we will be launching a variety of colors.”
Third Eye has run into some limitations with regards to their markets. “US consumers are spoiled by the efficiency of the new paint business. They can deliver specialty coatings in any of 1000s of custom colors immediately. We are a little more limited than the other big brands. That limits us. Right now we feel that there are niche markets that we are ideal for, such as apartment complexes and commercial or municipal buildings, and for anti-graffiti initiatives as well. However we feel once people realize that this is a high quality of the product at such a low price they will want to use as well. And there are also those consumers who are willing to trade some color choice for an ecofriendly alternative,” Craig said while discussing the initial markets for the paint. “Another thing we can do is provide a very competitive price. The principle of re-use combined with a great price makes it a great fit for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.”
For several years MXI has been managing the HHW events for Housatonic Resource Recovery Authority (HRRA), which is the regional municipal solid waste (MSW) and recycling management organization for the Housatonic Valley, which includes the municipalities of Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, and Sherman.
The Executive Director of HRRA, Jen Heaton-Jones, has been a big proponent of the Paint Stewardship Program and help connect MXI with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Danbury.
"We appreciate Jen helping us get in contact with the Housatonic ReStore. As a client she has been a pleasure to work for and as an environmentalist she has been inspiring to us here at MXI," Craig said.
Craig Potter and MXI's HHW Director Marc Kodrowski will be at the debut along with State Senator Craig Miner and CT DEEP Commission Robert Klee. "I'm very excited to attend the debut at the ReStore. They do wonderful work there and it's an honor to work with such a renowned organization. I'm very humbled by all the support and excitement," Craig said.
The two products available for sale will be the Full Circle Paint, available in Cashew and Mushroom. Also available with be Old Man Potter's Chalked Craft Furniture Paint. This product is specially designed for painting furniture. It's designed to have great coverage and to create a distressed look. Examples can be seen on the company's website.
More information can be found on the company's website, www.latexpaintrecycling.com.