Oct 01, 2023

Carl Allen, Heritage Plastics founder, dies at age 80

Carl Allen — founder of Heritage Bag Co. and Heritage Plastics — died at age 80 at his home in Atlanta on April 17.

Allen founded Heritage Bag in Dallas in 1973. That business was sold to Novolex in 2016. In 1982, he founded Heritage Plastics, a maker of mineral-based plastics concentrates. Heritage Plastics is still owned by the Allen family.

In a statement to Plastics News, Heritage Plastics President Paul Lewis said that Allen "was certainly a pioneer and legend in our industry. He considered his employees like family and promoted the wellbeing of all."

Lewis added that Allen "will be remembered for his generosity and dedication to Heritage in addition to his impact on changing the polymer industry."

"We will miss Carl and look forward to supporting his legacy of innovation and growth for the future. The Allen family is thankful for all the condolences and support they have received from the plastics industry, as well as family and friends."

According to an obituary, Allen "lived a full and passionate life as a loving husband and father, doting grandfather and accomplished businessman. … He was fiercely devoted to his wife Elizabeth with whom he raised their three children and enjoyed great adventures throughout their 47-year marriage."

Allen was a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, which he attended on a wrestling scholarship. The obituary said that when Allen registered at RIT, "he chose the shortest line available, which was chemistry. … Patience was not one of his virtues."

After RIT, Allen joined Mobil Oil Corp. as a polymer engineer. He later went on his own to launch Heritage Bag, which the obituary said "became the largest supplier of industrial and institutional can liners in the U.S."

Heritage Bag was founded in 1973 as a manufacturer of plastic trash bags, can liners and food bags for institutional and commercial customers. It later expanded into such products as medical waste bags and ice bucket liners.

When Heritage Bag was sold to Novolex, it had almost 800 employees, operated six plants and had annual sales estimated at $380 million. That made Heritage Bag North America's 22nd largest film and sheet maker, according to Plastics News data.

Allen founded Picayune, Miss.-based Heritage Plastics in 1982. The firm operates two plants, making concentrates based on calcium carbonate and other minerals for blow molding, injection molding, blown film and thermoforming.

Heritage Plastics "revolutionized the use of minerals in plastics," the obituary said, and "remains the largest manufacturer of mineral-based concentrates in the world, as well as a global leader in biopolymers."

Allen also was an avid hunter, angler and outdoorsman. The obituary said he "rarely declined a tennis match, round of golf or game of pool," traveled the world and loved to introduce family and friends to his favorite destinations.

As a philanthropist, Allen contributed to numerous causes and charities, as well as to his employees and their families. He "quietly changed the lives of so many throughout his life," the obituary said.

Allen is survived by his wife Elizabeth and his five children and their families. A memorial service was held in Atlanta on April 25. Contributions may be made to The Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta GA, 30309.

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