PET recycler UltrePET LLC has bought a Canadian company with strong ties to Nova Scotia's bottle collection systems.
Albany, N.Y.-based UltrePET said Jan. 3 that it bought Novapet Inc., a PET recycler in Amherst, Nova Scotia, in a move that would expand its access to supplies of bottles, a key factor in a market where there's keen competition among recyclers for waste bottles.
UltrePET officials could not be reached, but President Scott Mellen said in a statement that ``the Novapet acquisition helps to diversify and expand our supply infrastructure.''
Novapet has close ties to Nova Scotia's government, getting all of the PET bottles collected by the province, according to Roy Sherwood, business development manager with the Nova Scotia Resource Recovery Fund Board in Truro.
RRFB manages solid waste collection in the province and until a year ago was an investor in Novapet.
Novapet gets 9 million to 11 million pounds of baled PET bottles each year from cities and towns across Nova Scotia. That's a sizable addition to the 52 million pounds of plastic UltrePET reported recycling in the most recent Plastics News ranking.
The recycling rate for PET containers in Nova Scotia is above 80 percent because the province has a bottle bill, which it recently expanded to include energy and health drinks, Sherwood said.
``It's probably the best bales in North America,'' he said. ``The bales are sorted green and clear, the tops are even removed.''
Nova Scotia has a goal of recycling 50 percent of its waste stream, and has banned things like food and beverage containers, newspaper and tires from its landfills, Sherwood said.
Novapet started in the mid-1990s when the government first put those bans into place. The company ran into financial trouble in the early part of this decade when PET prices dropped, and the RRFB stepped in and invested to preserve recycling capacity and jobs in Nova Scotia, he said.
Sherwood declined to say how much the RRFB invested, but said the agency got its money back when it sold its share in early 2005.
UltrePET recently acquired technology from Wellman Inc. to make Food and Drug Administration-compliant recycled PET for use in beverage bottles, and said it hopes the Novapet purchase will strengthen its hand in that market.
UltrePET is a partnership of wTe Corp. in Bedford, Mass., and reverse vending machine supplier Tomra of North America, in Stratford, Conn.