An integrated PET recycling and packaging company is getting a financial boost from both the state of California and a well-known private backer of recycling projects.
Vernon, Calif.-based rPlanet Earth is receiving a $2 million California Climate Investment loan that's been approved by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.
And the Closed Loop Fund, which calls itself a social impact investment fund, announced a decision to invest $1.5 million into the company.
The new state financing comes through CalRecycle's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Loan Program.
"Projects like this show California has committed partners in the private sector willing to make substantial investments to combat climate change and protect the future of our people and our planet," CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said in a statement. "These public-private partnerships are the foundation of California's global leadership on climate change and sustainability and will be crucial to our future success in these areas."
The company also has attracted the attention of the Closed Loop Fund, which is backed by investments from retailers and brand names such as Walmart, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé Waters, Procter & Gamble, Keurig Dr Pepper, 3M and Colgate-Palmolive.
The fund has invested in about a dozen efforts, including both private companies and public programs, aimed at increasing the reuse of materials.
News of the additional funding comes as rPlanet said Oct. 15 the facility has started operations at a 302,000-square-foot site. The location, which cost more than $100 million to establish, calls itself "the world's first completely vertically integrated plant for converting PET packaging waste into finished [recycled] rPET products."
Annual capacity is 80 million pounds, and there already are plans to add a second production line within two years.
"The utilities and other infrastructure are already in place to support a new line that can have a capacity 50 percent larger than that of our existing line," co-CEO Robert Daviduk said in a statement.
"Our company has plans to build three or more new plants at sites elsewhere in the U.S. and possibly in other countries," he continued.
Daviduk also spoke with Plastics News earlier this year at the Packaging Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Vertical integration at the new plant gives rPlanet operating efficiencies and lessens the facility's environmental impacts, he said at the time.
The facility will rely on post-consumer bottles as well as some thermoformed containers as feedstock to create new packaging.
"We are committed to investing our capital on the West Coast to help create jobs and rebuild America's recycling markets. rPlanet Earth helps bring a closed loop solution for everyday plastic packaging to California," Ellen Martin, a Closed Loop Fund vice president, said in a statement.