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Recimex, a Mexico City-based recycling company, recently opened a 10,000-square-foot PET recycling plant in Lerma, Mexico.

With a capacity of 26 million pounds per year, Recimex claims to be one of the largest PET recyclers in Latin America.

The US$4 million Lerma plant employs 42 and opened in December. It grinds and cleans PET bottles that are collected in Mexico City. The flake is then sold to domestic fiber and sheet manufacturers, and sold in Europe and Asia.

The company bought equipment for the PET plant from Sorema Plastics Recycling Systems of Como, Italy.

Recimex was founded in 1993 by investors from Mexico, the United States and Japan. Although PET prices are very depressed, President Ral López feels confident about the plant and its future.

``Mexico is one of the largest consumers of soft drinks in the world,'' he said.

``The highly populated cities, the lack of environmental education and ineffective waste management systems in [Mexico] represent a big opportunity for investments in this field,'' López said.

``This company is going to grow in the recycling of all kinds of containers, because this is a big opportunity in the new environmental industry in Mexico ... and taking into account the new regulations that the Mexican government is going to establish for all industry using containers.''

In addition to its PET facility, Recimex also has a plant in Lerma that recycles high and low density polyethylene bags and containers. The PE plant reprocesses 300,000 pounds per month.

Recimex employs 155 and has offices and a warehouse in Mexico City.

In 1994, Recimex joined with Aurrera-Cifra, a supermarket chain in Mexico that has an alliance with Wal-Mart, to collect and recycle plastic bottles as well as paper, glass, rubber and aluminum.

The company also started a collection program, called the environmental passport, with 50,000 elementary school children.