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World’s Largest Bottle-To-Bottle Recycling Plant Opens in California
March 5th, 2012
The Riverside, California plant, owned by CarbonLITE, is expected to recycle roughly two billion PET plastic bottles a year for customers like Pepsi and Nestle.
Previously, most plastic bottles collected in California's curbside and redemption value programs were exported to China and downcycled into polyester fiber. However, PET can be recycled numerous times, turning bottles back into bottles.
CarbonLITE specializes in processing used plastic bottles into bottle-grade PET pellets that can then be used to manufacture new plastic beverage bottles. This conserves virgin resources, reduces landfills, and capitalizes on the energy already invested in making existing plastic products.
The PET resin offered by CarbonLITE will be processed using a method that has received an LNO (letter of non-objection) from the FDA, allowing it to be used at levels up to 100 percent recycled content in the manufacture of PET bottles and containers for direct contact with all food types under cold fill and hot fill conditions.
California Governor Jerry Brown attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 220,000-square-feet facility, which will employ 100 people. Brown was joined by guests from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"CarbonLITE is using high-tech innovations to bring used plastic back to food grade quality," said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for EPA's Pacific Southwest. "By recycling two billion PET bottles (12 fl oz) every year, this cutting-edge facility is helping America save 48 million gallons of gas. This is a model of resource recovery and economic development."
Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.