WTe Corp. closed its $3.5 million Hayward, Calif., PET bottle recycling plant Oct. 11, just 14 months after its opening. The company blamed inadequate supplies of PET bottles. The plant was a stand-alone project financed, owned and operated by Certified Polymer Processors Inc., a subsidiary of Bedford, Mass.-based wTe.
The project, which never advanced past phase one, relied on a PET supply agreement with Plastics Recycling Corp. of California. PRCC is a nonprofit corporation that collects PET bottles from the state's bottle deposit program. The agreement called for an 11-year, 30 million pound-per-year supply of PET bottle feedstocks from PRCC.
``Unfortunately, PRCC did not supply the amount or the quality of PET feedstocks that were required by the PET supply agreement,'' said Leigh Alan Peritz, vice president of wTe's Plastics Division, in a news release.
``During the critical 1995 PET shortage when CPP needed the PET to fulfill its contracts for finished products with its customers, PRCC failed to supply PET in accordance with its agreement with CPP. After a seven-year effort to develop a PET bottle recycling facility in California, it is very disappointing to have to shut the plant down,'' he added. ``If PRCC had just complied with their obligations under the agreement, the project would still be in operation.''
PRCC Executive Director Patricia Moore declined comment, referring questions to Floyd Flexon, the group's chairman and director of recycling, worldwide, for Johnson Controls Inc. in Manchester, Mich. Flexon said: ``PRCC disagrees with the statement of fact in wTe's press release,'' and that further comment was not appropriate.
The facility, with 45-50 employees, sorted, granulated and removed labels from post-consumer beverage and custom PET bottles. The plant had the capacity to process about 40 million pounds per year.
The flake produced was washed and repelletized at wTe's Albany, N.Y., PET recycling plant. Phase two at the Hayward plant, a washing and pelletizing system, was to be in operation by the latter part of this year.
Funding for phase two stopped in January, when PRCC filed for arbitration action to terminate its supply agreement with CPP. PRCC claimed that CPP did not have the right to sell the excess bales that it was unable to process.
PRCC is funded, owned and controlled by bottlers and bottle suppliers: Coca-Cola Enterprises, PepsiCo Inc., the California Nevada Soft Drink Association, Johnson Controls Inc., Constar International Inc., Seven-Up/RC Bottling Co. of Southern California Inc., and BevPak Division of National Beverages.
WTe asserted that CPP was unable to process those bales because of poor, nonspecification quality of the PET provided by PRCC.
WTe's Albany facility will be unaffected by the closure and the company is focusing on the possible expansion and improvement of that plant, the firm said. The 100,000-square-foot plant has 50-60 employees.