A major post-consumer PET recycler is extending its reach into the market once again.
CarbonLite Industries LLC, which is in the middle of a geographical expansion in the United States, is now extending the sourcing to include ocean-bound PET.
CarbonLite has built a name for itself by processing billions of traditionally collected PET bottles each year in locations in Riverside, Calif., and Dallas. The company currently is constructing a third site near Reading, Pa., that will push its overall capacity to more than 6 billion bottles annually.
Extending processing to include ocean-bound plastics simply makes sense, said Jason Farahnik, CarbonLite director of brand partnerships and resin sales.
His firm is now offering 100 percent recycled ocean-bound PET, chiefly sourced from Asia. The raw material can be processed at either of the company's current two locations. The company will use existing equipment, but has developed controls to track and separate ocean-bound plastics from traditional recycled PET during processing, Farahnik said.
"It doesn't change anything from our main business, which is post-consumer PET. But it fits within the company's ethos," Farahnik said.
"When the opportunity presented itself, we found that it would be a natural fit to make this material offering," he said, calling ocean plastics "a hot topic amongst all consumers."
Farahnik, for competitive reasons, said he could not go into specifics about material sourcing, but indicated the ocean-bound plastic will be verified by a third party. Southeast Asia will be a key area where the material is collected.
"What this material that CarbonLite is offering is material that has been improperly disposed of in areas that lack proper waste management and retrieved from shorelines, waterways and coastal areas within a 30-mile radius of the ocean," Farahik explained.
That 30-mile zone is a widely accepted range for an ocean-bound classification.
CarbonLite is offering 100 percent ocean-bound plastics to customers, but also will separately use the material internally at Pinnpack Packaging LLC, a sister company and thermoforming facility in Oxnard, Calif.
Demand for the new offering will ultimately determine the volume of ocean-bound plastics CarbonLite handles.
"It's important for our company because as one of the largest recyclers of PET plastics, we also want to attack the plastics that don't necessarily make it into the [recycling] stream properly," he said. "It was a natural fit to go after."