Thermoformed plastics packaging specialist Direct Pack Inc. has started operations at a $25 million manufacturing plant in Baja California, Mexico, its fourth such facility in North America and its second in Mexico.
And in an exclusive interview Nov. 9, DPI President Craig Snedden told Plastics News the company will invest an additional $8 million to $10 million in building and equipping a PET recycling plant close to the Mexican factory over the next 12 months.
"We are in the process of looking for land," Snedden said by telephone. "We have identified the equipment we need and are in the process of placing orders."
The recycling plant will be up and running within a year, he said, adding that it will employ between 80-100 people.
In early 2020, Azusa, Calif-based DPI acquired PET recycler Atmosphera Verde SA de CV in Guadalajara, which can recycle 40 million pounds of PET a year, including post-consumer thermoformed PET.
DPI ranked 13th in Plastics News' list of North American thermoformers.
Snedden said the new recycling facility will be called El Segundo, after the California city of the same name where Standard Oil built its second refinery on the West Coast of the United States in the early 20th century, an event of interest to him.
According to a DPI news release, the new 200,000-square-foot thermoforming facility in Mexicali, called Direct Pack Baja, started producing food packaging for supermarket, foodservice, food growers and processors, in both the United States and Mexico, in September.
Services and products offered include PET solid-state polymerization, sheet extrusion, thermoforming, automated labeling application, warehousing and distribution.
DPI invested "north of $25 million" in the property, Snedden said. DPI's other manufacturing facilities are in Sun Valley, Calif.; Rockingham, N.C.; and Guadalajara.
All three operate three shifts a day, according to the DPI release.
"As we continue to grow our operations, we remain focused and deeply committed to sustainability and innovation with full emphasis on 'circularity' and an ultimate goal of making PET plastic an infinite resource," Snedden said in the release.
"In the past 24 months, DPI has recycled and reused 36 million pounds of post-consumer recycled PET plastic thanks to the continuous operations across our manufacturing facilities," he added.
Referring to the Atmosphera Verde acquisition in Guadalajara, he described it as "one of our most significant acquisitions" before adding that "we have predominantly been a greenfield expansion company. Our growth comes from identifying opportunity."
As far as operating in Mexico is concerned, he said: "We feel we are in the right place. We don't see any issues in conducting our business in Mexico. We have found it to be very attractive and easy to operate in and we have a very enthusiastic team. … We are very excited about it. It's a great time to be in business."
DPI started in 2006 and is owned by PMC Global Inc., a privately held management company based in Sun Valley, Calif., and founded by Phil Kamins, a plastics industry veteran.