Work has begun on a new PET recycling plant on the East Coast that's expected to open next year.
CarbonLite Holdings LLC ultimately decided to construct the $80 million project in Muhlenberg Township, Pa., near Reading. That's about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia in Berks County.
It was just about a year ago that CarbonLite revealed plans for an additional East Coast location to complement existing sites in Riverside, Calif., and Dallas.
At that time, the company was looking at a site near Allentown, Pa., and expected production to begin by the end of this year.
Now the company said the project will be near Reading, and processing will be in full operation during the first quarter of next year. CarbonLite also has increased the expected cost of the plant from $60 million to $80 million.
CarbonLite calls itself the world's largest producer of food-grade, post-consumer PET.
The addition of a third plant, which will be similar in size to the firm's existing locations, will boost the company's capacity by about 2 billion bottles to 6 billion bottles annually.
The new 270,000-square-foot-location is being constructed at a site known as Berks 61, a plot of land adjacent to state Route 61.
Moving from near Allentown to near Reading means the company will now construct a new facility instead of retrofitting an existing building, according to local news reports. Allentown and Reading are about 40 miles apart.
More than 100 jobs should be created by the new project, according to local economic development officials.
Site developers spent five years on the project before attracting CarbonLite.
"We started working on the approvals for the site in 2014 with a process operation in mind, as the infill location has extraordinary heavy utility infrastructure and a superior employment profile, situated on the ... bus line," said Ben Cohen, CEO of Endurance Real Estate Group, in a statement. "We are elated that CarbonLite will use the site as it was intended."
An infill project utilizes land that's surrounded by existing development.
Demand for more recycled PET from both Nestle Waters North America and Pepsico is driving growth at CarbonLite. The recycler also has signaled a desire to build an additional location in the Southeast.
CarbonLite is No. 11 in Plastics News' new ranking of North American recyclers.