Packaging industry veteran Floyd Flexon plans to open a major bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Modesto, Calif., in early 2009.
The plant will receive all of its raw material in the form of baled PET bottles from the Plastic Recycling Corp. of California, a Sonoma-based private, nonprofit organization previously chaired by Flexon. The plant will convert the bottles into flake before being crystallized, said Flexon, who now is with Plastic Environmental Technology LLC of Ann Arbor, Mich.
The operation is expected to cover between 60,000 and 80,000 square feet and will employ between 65 and 70. It's expected to open with 60 million pounds of capacity for recycled PET during the first quarter of 2009. Another 60 million pounds of capacity is set to arrive in the third quarter of 2010.
The project was announced at the Packaging Conference, an event held in Las Vegas, Feb. 4-6. The event was co-sponsored by consulting firms Plastic Technologies Inc. and SBA-CCI Inc.
Flexon - who has previous market experience with Johnson Controls Inc. and Amcor PET Packaging - looked at several sites in California and Arizona before settling on Modesto. Of the plant's output, 100 million pounds will be Food and Drug Administration-qualified, food-grade resin. Flexon said buyers already are in place for half of the plant's output.
``The material can be used in the same ways as virgin PET,'' Flexon said. ``And we hope to be priced at parity or better then domestic PET.''
The plant is being modeled after a similar plant opened by Amcor in Beaune, France, in 2002. Flexon also previously managed a 30 million pound-per-year capacity recycling plant operated by Amcor in Novi, Mich.
Flexon has an ownership stake in the proposed new plant, along with several partners and private equity firm Plainfield Asset Management LLC of Greenwich, Conn.
Plastic Environmental Technology's new plant is the latest in a string of big PET recycling projects announced in North America. The biggest was announced in September - a $45 million, 100 million pound-per-year plant in Spartanburg, S.C., being built by Coca-Cola Co. and United Resource Recovery Corp. That plant is scheduled to start operating in September.