CarbonLite plans to build a “bottle-to-bottle” recycling plant in Abilene, Texas, that will process used plastic beverage bottles into food-grade raw material to make into new bottles. Nestlé Waters will be a major customer, according to the company.
The company says the plant will process around 1.6 billion used bottles (80 million pounds) into recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (pcrPET) annually, using the pcrPET pellets to make new bottles. The facility will employ about 100 people who will operate the $40-million processing plant.
CarbonLite says it expects to break ground before year-end. Production is scheduled to begin in late 2014.
One of CarbonLite’s customers will be Nestlé Waters North America for its Ozarka brand water, which is bottled in Texas.
CarbonLite’s president Neville Browne says Nestlé Waters’ decision to expand its recycled-content program into Texas helped the company choose Texas for its next North American plant. CarbonLite already supplies Nestlé Waters from its flagship facility in Riverside, Calif. CarbonLite provides the recycled plastic for Nestlé Waters Arrowhead ReBorn water bottles made with 50 percent recycled content.
The company’s 220,000-square-foot facility in Riverside — its first recycling plant — processes more than 2 billion used plastic bottles annually. PepsiCo is also a customer.
In addition to using recycled plastic, some beverage companies are using other sustainable packaging materials such as bioplastics. For example, renewable chemicals and biofuels firm Gevo supplies paraxylene for the Coca-Cola Company’s bottles.
Paraxylene is a key building block for renewable, non-petroleum derived PET beverage bottles and polyester for packaging films and fibers used in textiles, clothing and other applications.
Additionally, Bio-Tec Environmental’s EcoPure additives increase the rate of biodegradation of treated plastics and are designed for use in polyolefins, polystyrene, nylon, polycarbonate, PET and most common resins, the company says. EcoPure-treated PET water bottles will be just as durable, watertight and have the same shelf life as an untreated PET bottle, according to Bio-Tech.