A new facility in California will supply recycled PET for bottles for two drink manufacturers, and hopes to begin a new era of recycling in the U.S.
Mike Verespej reports for Plastics News:
Nestle Waters North America Inc. has committed to incorporating 50 percent recycled content in previously virgin-material bottles for its Arrowhead brand of spring water, using food-grade PET from CarbonLite Industries LLC’s new recycling plant in Riverside.
Nestle will buy one-third of the $58 million plant’s output. Separately, bottler PepsiCo Inc. has agreed to purchase 40 percent.
Nestle chose the Arrowhead brand for the recycled content because it is bottled primarily at the Nestle Waters bottling plant in Cabazon, CA, 40 miles east of Riverside, where the plant is located, Verespej writes.
PepsiCo did not specify how much recycled content might include in any of its beverage containers, according to Plastics News. Paul Boykas, vice president of global public policy for PepsiCo, noted, “We believe in investing in sustainable growth for people and for the planet.”
The CarbonLite plant covers 220,000 square feet, and had its grand opening celebration earlier this month. Its first line started running 24/7 a few months ago and is expected to be at full capacity in a couple of months. A second line is on the drawing board, and company officials envision another facility on the East Coast.
Verespej writes that “when that first line is operating at 100 percent capacity, the Riverside plant will process 100 million pounds of PET bottles and produce 75 million pounds of food-grade PET pellets annually,” with most of the pellets being clear in color, and about 15% will be green.
CarbonLite President Neville Browne told Verespej at the grand opening, “This plant heralds the end of the disposables age, and the beginning of the ‘remakeables’ age where things are made in a way that they can be rescued from landfills and made back into the same product again.”
Verespej quoted Browne regarding the realization that natural resources, energy, and CO2 emissions must be conserved:
What good does it do if you take a recycled PET bottle and make it into a sushi container that just ends up in a landfill three days later? … When a new bottle is made from an old bottle that was in turn made from an even older bottle, there are zero new natural resources used, the carbon footprint is … eight times less, and it reuses the preserved molecule over and over.
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown praised the facility at the grand opening, calling it a model of “efficiency, elegance and sustainability.” He also said that the plant was a cooperative effort between the state, county, city, and private businesses, and should remind people that they need to work together on these issues on what is best for the people, Verespej noted.
Rachel Petkewich is a freelance science writer and editor. She has worked as a research scientist in the chemical industry and spent eight years as a staff writer and editor at various science journals and magazines, including Chemical & Engineering News.