PET recycler Evergreen Plastics Inc. announced April 22 it's investing nearly $24 million to double its capacity for food-grade packaging material to meet demand from consumer product companies.
The Clyde, Ohio, company said it's adding another extrusion line and expanding its building footprint as consumer goods manufacturers seek to add more recycled content to their PET packaging.
"We can't get them enough material fast enough," said Melanie Arnold, a company spokeswoman. "Our customers want to be more sustainable because that makes them more attractive to their customers and consumers."
Evergreen is part of Mentor, Ohio-based Greenbridge, which was formerly known as Polychem Corp. The investment announcement was part of a rebranding that Greenbridge announced on Earth Day, April 22.
The expansion, which will start in May and be completed in 2022, will add one extrusion line from Starlinger to the two existing Erema lines in Clyde.
It will boost the company's capacity for food-grade recycled PET to about 80 million pounds a year, Arnold said. Currently the company has capacity for about 40 million pounds.
Evergreen will also add about 55,000 square feet of manufacturing space to its 240,000-square-foot facility.
The company will be investing in additional sorting equipment and other machinery in the expansion in Clyde. It also added six robotic sorting lines from AMP Robotics Corp. in late 2020 to increase its accuracy and speed at sorting PET bottles.
Those robotic sorting lines have allowed the company to take employees who had been doing manual sorting and put them in different jobs in the company, Arnold said.
"The beauty of it is that job for a human to perform was very laborious and not as rewarding as other jobs throughout the plant," Arnold said.
Evergreen formed in 1998 to recycle curbside PET bottles and make PET strapping. It added the Erema pelletizing lines in 2004 and 2011.
Its parent company Polychem, now Greenbridge, was purchased in mid-2019 by Houston-based private equity firm The Sterling Group.
The company makes PET, polypropylene and steel strap and cord and provides recycling and sustainability consulting services to other firms.