RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A former paint factory situated on 1900 Ellen Road in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood will soon be the home of a new manufacturing facility for pipette recycling company Grenova.
Gov. Ralph Northam, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Secretary of Commerce Brian Ball, Richmond Department of Economic Development Leonard Sledge, and Virginia Del. Jeff Bourne joined Grenova founder and CEO Ali Safavi on Tuesday to announce the economic development plans. The $10.6 million investment will bring 250 jobs to the city over the next three years, while also tripling the company’s manufacturing space.
“At a time when we’re really trying to recycle and reuse plastics, this is just commendable, and we’re so proud,” Gov. Northam said.
“Grenova stands for green innovation,” Safavi added. “We were founded based on the mission and vision to enable the lab and life science industry to safely wash and reuse plastic consumables. We started with pipette tips, the most common consumable used across the industry.”
According to Safavi, 700 million pipette tips have been washed and reused safely in clinical life science diagnostic labs and prevented over 2 million pounds of plastic biohazard waste from ending up in a landfill. Additionally, $58 million has been saved on those consumable which Safavi says affects the price of health care.
“Bottom line, it does impact the cost of health care, as it gets passed down to us the consumers,” Safavi said. “Discarding one-time use of plastic consumables is an unnecessary practice that needs to change.”
Safavi said 12 billion pounds of biohazard plastic waste ends up in the country’s landfills each year. He said for perspective, it would be enough to fill the entire island of Manhattan up to your knees each year. The impact on the industry is already being felt, and Safavi said efforts from city and state leadership is helping move things in a positive direction.
“Changing an entire industry and culture to not discard plastic does not happen overnight,” he said. “It doesn’t happen without the collaboration of supportive infrastructure to innovate.”
Grenova will join other biotech companies that currently have a footprint in the Richmond area. Stoney said the future in that area is bright for the city.
“Richmond is making its mark in this local, state, national and global economic sector,” Stoney said. “We don’t take these assets, institutions and anchors for granted.”
Safavi founded Grenova in 2014. It was after an unsuccessful trip to North Carolina where he pitched his idea for the company to investors that he landed in Richmond. For more information, check out Grenova online.