Unifi Inc., Greensboro, North Carolina, has received a Letter of No Objection from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowing it to produce its postconsumer recycled PET plastic flake for use in manufacturing food-contact articles. Last September, Unifi celebrated the official opening of its Repreve Bottle Processing Center in Reidsville, North Carolina, where the company’s recycled plastic flake is produced.
The Repreve Bottle Processing Center represents an investment in excess of $28 million in the vertical integration of Unifi’s Repreve recycled product line and, Unifi says in a news release announcing its receipt of the FDA Letter of No Objection, “a commitment to new environmentally conscious production capabilities and channels of revenue.” Unifi’s recycled plastic flake can now be used for food-grade packaging such as clamshells, trays and baskets for fresh fruits, vegetables and shell eggs. Unifi’s Repreve Bottle Processing Center has the annual capacity to produce 75 million pounds of the highest quality, consistent, clean bottle flake and helps conserve natural resources by reducing the use of crude oil to produce virgin plastic for nonrecycled packaging.
“We are pleased to expand our end uses for Repreve bottle flake to include food-grade products,” says Eddie Ingle, vice president of supply chain and Repreve polymer sales for Unifi. “The Repreve Bottle Processing Center uses custom-designed, cutting-edge technology to produce recycled bottle flake for high-quality, safe, environmentally responsible food packaging.”
Since inception, Unifi has recycled more than 5 billion plastic water bottles into Repreve fiber, used by many well-known brands in a variety of auto, outdoor, home and apparel products, including Levi’s, Haggar, Ford and The North Face. Now, Unifi has the capability to increase the number of bottles the company recycles as it expands production to include food-grade packaging.
Unifi and Repreve are exhibiting at booth 910 at Plastics Recycling 2017, March 6-8, in New Orleans.