PWP Industries will build a California facility to recycle PET bottles, and plans to use the material in its Vernon, Calif., plant, as well as sell it to other processors.
The Vernon-based food packaging thermoformer expects to spend $20 million for land, construction, infrastructure systems and operating equipment.
The Southern California plant will begin producing Food and Drug Administration-compliant flake toward the middle of 2010, according to PWP.
The firm is negotiating for real estate near the Vernon facility and may make a decision this month on a site, said Leon Farahnik, chairman and CEO of Los Angeles-based PWP.
We want to promote post-consumer recycling content in the state of California, Farahnik said in a recent telephone interview. We believe that products that use additives to make them biodegradable will not biodegrade in landfills. We want to reuse the energy sources we have.
The PWP recycling facility will accept dirty bottles from any available resource in California, including PET containers from business partner Coca-Cola Recycling LLC. The Atlanta-based company is a subsidiary of publicly traded Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products.
Farahnik said the facility will sell the recycled food-grade-suitable flake to other California firms.
Now, a lot of PET bottles from California are being shipped to China, he said.
PWP still is negotiating with vendors about what equipment and technology it will purchase for the plant, and hopes to make those decisions by August or September.
A captive PWP facility in Davisville, W.Va., uses a turnkey plastic recycling system from the Sorema division of Previero srl in Como, Italy, and solid-state polycondensation technology from the thermal processes business unit of Buhler AG of Uzwil, Switzerland. Coca-Cola Recycling supplies the used containers.
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin attended a June 2 ceremony celebrating the opening of the Davisville plant, an investment of more than $21 million that also gives PWP a kind of design template for the California project. For its first phase, the 80,000-square-foot Davisville plant has targeted annual capacity of 40 million pounds of PET.
That recycling facility is located about 10 miles from a PWP plant in Mineral Wells, W.Va., that absorbs all of its output.
The PET flake is washed and cleaned thoroughly to ensure removal of the label, cap and tamper-evident neck-band materials and other debris, according to the company. Nearly all output including cap and label materials are salable for other purposes, PWP said.
At the new California plant, PWP projects an initial capacity to recycle 40 million pounds of PET bottles annually. A second phase plans to double the annual volume to 80 million pounds during the second quarter of 2011.
The California project allows PWP to extend its commitment to save energy, reduce the output of carbon dioxide and keep plastic out of landfills, Farahnik said. Using a greenhouse-gas equivalencies calculator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he estimated that the plant, at full capacity, would eliminate 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
Also, he said, manufacturing post-consumer PET is estimated to use about two-thirds less energy than virgin PET production.
PWP thermoforms PET and polypropylene for food packaging at a plant in Abilene, Texas, as well as the Vernon and Mineral Wells locations.
The firm is finding a ready market for post-consumer resin in food packaging. All of our customers are involved in having post-consumer content in their product lines, Farahnik said.
Fast-food-franchise Subway uses PWP-formed salad bowls, and major players such as discount giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and warehouse-club-chain Costco Wholesale Corp. are interested in buying PWP-made food packaging with recycled content, he said.
PWP is part of HPC Industries LLC of Los Angeles. Hilex Poly Co. LLC, a plastic film and bag maker based in Hartsville, S.C., is another HPC company. Private investment firm Omninet Capital LLC of Beverly Hills, Calif., is a major financial backer of PWP.
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