Coca-Cola Co. and half a dozen of its Mexican bottlers are investing $34 million to almost double the capacity of the PetStar SA de CV food-grade PET recycling facility in Toluca, Mexico, 40 miles west of Mexico City.
In a news release, Coke said the expansion will enable the plant to recycle 120 million pounds of PET per year, making it the largest food-grade PET recycling facility in Latin America.
When it opened in April 2009, the plant could reprocess about 64 million pounds of PET, roughly the equivalent of 1 billion bottles, a year. It employed 70, including administrative staff. The facility was built over 14 months. The expansion is likely to be completed within a similar time frame, although Coke did not say when it will be operational.
PetStar uses a wash line from Amut SpA of Novara, Italy, and extrusion equipment from Uzwil, Switzerland-based Bühler AG. Additional equipment from both suppliers will be purchased, Coke said.
“For this expansion, the same technologies will be used, incorporating improvements and optimizations developed by Mexican technicians at PetStar,” it added.
PetStar Chairman Miguel Ángel Rabago, speaking at a foundation stone-laying ceremony June 8, said the expansion will help create 500 direct and 6,000 indirect jobs.
At the same event, Brian Smith, president of Coca-Cola Mexico, described PetStar as “a vital part” of the Atlanta beverage giant's sustainable packaging initiatives in Mexico.
“By integrating [operations], from the collection of bottles to the incorporation of new, recycled bottles for our beverage products, [it will be] one of the most relevant projects in the world,” he said.
PetStar is part of recycling services company Avangard Innovative Ltd. of Houston. Promotora Ambiental SAB de CV, a Mexican environmental services company with operations in four dozen Mexican towns, is a partner.
Bottlers putting up the money for the expansion with Coke are Arca Continental SAB de CV, Embotelladora Bepensa SA de CV, Yoli Acapulco SA de CV, Corporación del Fuerte SA de CV, Corporación Rica SA de CV, Embotelladora del Nayar SA de CV and Embotelladora de Colima SA de CV, Coca-Cola said.
Formed in the northern city of Monterrey in 2011 through the merger of Embotelladora Arca and Grupo Continental, Arca Continental is the second-largest Coke bottler in Latin America, and is listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AC.