Packaging maker Alpla and packaging user Coca-Cola FEMSA are teaming up in a joint venture to build a new PET recycling plant in Southeast Mexico.
The $60 million project, being called Planta Nueva Ecología de Tabasco, or PLANETA, will have the capacity to handle 55,000 tons of post-consumer PET each year. Processing will create 38,500 tons of recycled PET for reuse from the city of Cunduacán site.
"The big challenge today is the handling of the materials after the consumption phase. We are currently investing worldwide in systems to give plastic packaging a value, because then it is collected and recycled," Alpla CEO Philipp Lehner said in a statement. "With strong partners like Coca-Cola FEMSA at our side, we will be able to set up the necessary infrastructure and close the bottle cycle in as many regions as possible."
Coca-Cola FEMSA, a publicly traded company based in Mexico City, calls itself the largest Coca-Cola franchise bottler in the world by sales volume. The company has 49 plants and 268 distribution centers.
"Coca-Cola FEMSA is permanently committed to caring for the planet. This is why we are implementing a series of measures to promote recycling with the goal of recovering 100 percent of post-consumer packaging," CEO John Santa Maria of Coca-Cola FEMSA said in a statement.
More than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created during construction and operation of the new recycling plant, the companies said.
"This new recycling plant for food-grade PET will be Alpla's third recycling plant in Mexico, which makes us a spearhead at a national level and a recycling benchmark for the rest of the world," said Carlos Torres Ballesteros, Alpla managing director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, in a statement.
Alpla is undertaking the project as part of a commitment to invest more than 50 million euros ($56.4 million) annually through 2025 on global recycling capacity, he said.
Alpla, based in Hard, Austria, is a major producer of bottles, caps, molded parts and packaging systems through a network of 176 sites in 45 countries.
The company already has a presence in PET recycling in Mexico at the Industria Mexicana de Reciclaje (IMER) plant that began operations in 2005. Alpla, in a joint venture with regional bottler Coca-Cola FEMSA and Coca-Cola México, produces about 16,500 tons of food grade flake each year at that facility.
Coca-Cola México and six bottlers in the country also own the PetStar PET recycling plant near Mexico City.
Alpla opened a new high density polyethylene recycling plant in Toluca, Mexico, in November. The facility produces HDPE pellets primarily for non-use packaging including personal care and cleaning products. With an initial annual production capacity of 16,500 tons, Alpla already is working to double that output later this year, the company has said.
Alpla, which has locations around the world, is the No. 5 blow molder in North America in rankings by Plastics News with estimated sales of $1.4 billion in that region.