Embattled Coke Bottle Recycling Plant Reopens

by | Aug 22, 2011

The troubled Coca-Cola joint-venture recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., is set to reopen today after being shuttered by the company in March.

But Coke is considering selling its 49 percent stake in the plant, according to the Wall Street Journal

Coke and its partner in the factory, United Resource Recovery Corp. LLC, closed the factory down earlier this year to restructure the plant and improve the quality of the plastic being produced. All 50 factory workers and most of the plant’s office staff were laid off when the factory closed.

“We are restarting the plant,” said Carlos Gutierrez, president and CEO of URRC, PlasticsNews.com reports. “We feel pretty good on the results from our retooling efforts.”

Over the last half-year the Spartanburg team has been trying to more efficiently recycle old bottles into food-grade resin and correct certain operational problems. Prior to the fix, certain lightweight bottles had a habit of flying off the production line, Plasticsnews reports.

On reopening, the plant is likely to process half the amount of bottles it was originally designed to handle, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The plant, once described as the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling complex, opened in 2009. It was supposed to produce 100 million pounds of recycled plastic when fully operational, or about two billion 20-ounce Coke bottles.

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