CarbonLite to build PET recycling plant in Texas

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: October 17, 2013 3:35 pm ET
Updated: October 17, 2013 3:37 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Recycling, K 2013, Business News & Features

Plastic beverage bottles will find new life at a $40 million plant to be built in Abilene, Texas, as CarbonLite Industries LLC, gets ready to add a second facility to process post-consumer PET.

Construction will begin later this year on the bottle-to-bottle plant that will employ 100 people and take in about 1.6 billion used bottles a year. The bottles will be turned into a high-grade raw material to make new bottles for Nestle Waters North America, according to CarbonLite.

CarbonLite co-founder and CEO Leon Farahnik checked out the latest washing and sorting systems and other kinds of recycling equipment for the proposed facility at the K 2013 trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“I’m here to see what’s new in the industry, which is what the K show is all about,” Farahnik said in a phone interview on Oct. 17, adding, “I love what I do.”

When CarbonLite opened its first plant in Riverside, Calif., in late 2011, company officials heralded “the end of the disposables age, and the beginning of the ‘remakeables’ age.”

Nestle and PepsiCo Inc. are the main customers buying recycled PET from the $58 million California plant, which has 130 employees who reprocess more than 2 billion, or 100 million pounds, of used plastics bottles a year.

The Texas plant will have capacity to reprocess 80 million pounds of used bottles annually. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2014.

“That will make us one of the largest [bottle-to-bottle] recyclers in the world, but that’s not our goal,” Farahnik said. “We just want to do the right thing for the environment and the future of recycling.”

Farahnik said the average U.S. recycling rate for PET is just below 30 percent with some sates as low as 10 percent and those with bottle deposit laws topping out at about 65 percent.

“Fifty years from now they will dig through landfills to take out products and they will look at us and ask, ‘How could you throw that away?’” Farahnik said.

Increasing recycled content is the only real answer to single-use plastic bottles, CarbonLite co-founder and President Neville Browne said in announcement about the second plant and its first customer. Nestle will buy recycled plastic for its brand of natural spring water called Ozarka, which is bottled in Texas near Abilene.

CarbonLite also supplies PET pellets to Nestle for its half-liter Arrowhead ReBorn water bottles from its California facility. At 220,000-square feet, it is the largest plastic bottle recycling plant in the United States. The bottles are made of 50 percent recycled content from curbside and deposit collections.

“The most sustainable bottle of all is the one made from earlier generations of itself,” Browne said in a statement.

CarbonLite officials were looking at the East Coast for their second plant until Nestle Waters decided to expand its recycled-content program in Texas.

Nestle Waters is the third largest non-alcoholic beverage company by volume in the United States and it offers a long list of healthy beverages under a variety of brand names, including Deer Park, Pure Life and Poland Spring.

Heidi Paul, executive vice president of corporate affairs for Nestle Waters, describes the goal of using more recycled content in bottles as a “virtuous circle.”

“It reduces the need for virgin plastic, reduces the carbon impact of each bottle and encourages people to recycle more,” Paul said in a statement.

CarbonLite officials expect other major beverage companies to embrace the closed-loop commitment. They are eyeing the East Coast for their third bottle-to-bottle recycling plant.


Comments

CarbonLite to build PET recycling plant in Texas

By Catherine Kavanaugh
Staff Reporter

Published: October 17, 2013 3:35 pm ET
Updated: October 17, 2013 3:37 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Recycling group releases shrink sleeve label guidelines

September 26, 2014 4:02 pm ET

A post-consumer plastics recycling trade group is out with a set of recommendations to help guide the packaging industry on the use of shrink sleeve...    More

Image

Chemical regulation policy update likely to remain in limbo

September 26, 2014 1:13 pm ET

Efforts to broker a deal on national chemical regulation policy appear to have fallen apart in the waning days of the 113th Congress, leaving...    More

Image

Cascade founder believes business can be a place for real change

September 25, 2014 11:06 am ET

Companies can make a difference in a person's life, and Fred Keller, founder of Cascade Engineering Inc., believes it is important that they do.    More

Image

Recycling rates continuing to climb for EPS used in transport packaging

September 25, 2014 11:28 am ET

Recycling of the expanded polystyrene used in transport packaging continues to rise, extending what has now been a years-long push even higher.    More

Image

PRE taking the first steps to increase PET tray recycling

September 25, 2014 10:33 am ET

A set of new guidelines covering design-for-recycling for PET trays has been published by Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), the Brussels-based trade bo...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our industry analysis highlights macro industry trends and micro trends faced by companies that do business in Mexico. The report also provides key industry statistics and forecasts to anticipate future industry expansion.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events