CarbonLite, Riverside, Calif., has announced plans to build a bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Abilene, Texas. The company says it will process used plastic beverage bottles into food-grade raw material to make into new bottles. When fully operational, the$40 million facility will employ 100 people. The plant will process roughly 1.6 billion used bottles (80 million pounds) annually, according to the company.
CarbonLite says it expects to break ground before year-end with production scheduled to begin in late 2014. CarbonLite specializes in processing used plastic bottles into postconsumer recycled PET pellets that are used to make new bottles.
CarbonLite’s says a major customer will be Stamford, Conn.-based Nestlé Waters North America for its Ozarka brand 100 percent Natural Spring Water bottled in Texas.
“Nestlé Waters’ decision to expand its recycled-content program into Texas played an important role in CarbonLite choosing Texas for our next plant in North America. We already supply Nestlé Waters from our flagship facility in Riverside, Calif., so the transition in to Texas will be seamless,” says Neville Browne, CarbonLite president. “We believe other major beverage companies will follow the lead of Nestlé Waters. Ever-increasing recycled content is the only real answer to the challenges facing single-use plastic bottles. The most sustainable bottle of all is the one made from earlier generations of itself.”
CarbonLite provides the recycled plastic for Nestlé Waters North America’s half-liter Arrowhead ReBorn water bottles made with 50-percent-recycled content.
CarbonLite’s first recycling plant, a 220,000-square-foot facility operating in Riverside processes more than 2 billion used plastic bottles annually.
Heidi Paul, Nestlé Waters North America executive vice president of corporate affairs, says, “Our aim is to increase recycled content in our plastic water bottles. Using recycled bottles is a virtuous circle. It reduces the need for virgin plastic, reduces the carbon impact of each bottle and encourages people to recycle more.”
The city of Abilene, which says it promotes growth and diversity in its local economy, encouraged CarbonLite to locate the new plant in the Five Points Business Park in Abilene.
“We’ve had a very successful history with Leon Farahnik, chairman and CEO of CarbonLite, and we’re pleased to welcome him back into our business community,” says Richard Burdine, CEO of Develop Abilene. “This is going to be a world class facility and it will bring 100 new jobs, from semi-skilled to highly skilled … best of all they’ll be green jobs. Abilene will be truly on the recycling map.”