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California recycler Repet boosting capacity

By: Mike Verespej

August 30, 2012

CHINO, CALIF. (Aug. 30, 1 p.m. ET) — Recycler Repet Inc. has invested $15 million to add two new wash lines that will boost its production capacity for recycled PET flake from 3,000 pounds per hour to 20,000 pounds per hour.

It also has purchased a solid-state polycondensation machine to make recycled PET flakes and plans to order a second one after the first SSP machine comes online later this year.

The 3-year-old company — which started producing PET flake in July 2010 — began operating the two new wash lines at the end of August, said Art Davis, who joined the company two months ago as sales manager.

“We have the know-how to produce clean flake,” said Davis in a phone interview. “We want to keep recycled PET and jobs in the United States. We want to give PET a new life.”

The addition of the new wash lines — and the SSP equipment when it comes online — is expected to boost employment at the 330,000-square-foot plant in Chino, Calif., from 80 to 180 by the end of 2012, he said.

The equipment was purchased from Nanjing Elble Environmental Protection Technology Co. Ltd. in Jiangning, China.

“We are going to produce a flake with any IV [intrinsic viscosity] value you want under 0.95,” said Davis. Repet intends to sell to packaging giants such as Amcor Ltd. for use in food packaging such as strawberry and apple trays and clear egg cartons, and to beverage manufacturers such as Coca-Cola Co. for use in bottle preforms.

“We want to move to making food-grade PET for bottle-to-bottle,” Davis said. In its first two years of operation, Repet has sold roughly 40 million pounds of PET flake, much of it to thermoformers.

Repet does not expect any difficulty getting raw material to feed its lines. Rather, the biggest challenge will be the current “economic turbulence” that has dropped virgin PET prices significantly, said president and owner Vincent Zhao.