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Big things ahead for Kurt Zuhlke & Assoc.

It’s a busy time at Kurt Zuhlke & Assoc. Inc., aka The company is redoing its offices, adding more employees, changing locations and adding warehouse space as it is in the midst of overall growth.

ZuhlkeKurt Zuhlke with his daughter, Angela, and wife, Cindy.The Bangor, PA-based company is a leading innovator of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), packaging for the produce industry, which is most normally recycled from soft drink bottles and injection molded consumer product containers.

“The last couple of years there’s been more of a demand for packaging and things that are better for the environment,” said Kurt Zuhlke Jr., president of the company. “People are asking for packaging made from recyclable items.”

The company offers clamshells, bubble packs, herb packs, berry pads and a wide variety of produce packaging solutions. It stays away from foam and polystyrene. Kurt Zuhlke & Assoc. also remain strong advocates for environmentally sustainable practices in all phases of its operation.

“It’s always been important to us, all the way back to 1994 when we first started using 100 percent recycled PET. We knew at that point that was going to be the wave of the future and we got into it at the right time with our pint containers,” Zuhlke said. “Now we have so many items and people are starting to wake up to the fact that we can use these resources over and over again — and we should.”

Zuhlke & Assoc. helps play a role in that by promoting its recyclable packaging products at different industry events. “Most of what people want today is plastic, but some people want pressed boards or different items to have that compostable type of packaging,” Zuhlke said.

He explained the reason one might not want to use these sustainable practices is because they have been “brainwashed” by the media and different organizations into using palm, paper or compostable fiber, thinking that’s going to save the world. When in reality, it is depleting the forests of palm and other trees.

“Recyclable materials have gone up in cost a bit because there’s such a demand for it, and that’s a drawback for being a success in the recyclable industry,” he said. “Everyone wants your product.”

Kurt Zuhlke & Assoc. is in the process of interviewing for several new positions, though the company’s president said it’s getting more and more difficult to find qualified people. “It’s a huge shortage. We are looking for office personnel, computer people, and it’s very hard to find individuals that are qualified,” Zuhlke said. “You have to give them the right amount of money and all the perks to compete.”