Alpla recycling plant Cunduacan, Tabasco, Mexico
Alpla and Coca-Cola FEMSA are investing in a new PET recycling plant in Cunduacán, Tabasco, Mexico.
Alpla

Alpla, Coca-Cola FEMSA invest $60M in Mexican PET recycling plant

The plant will have the capacity to process 50,000 metric tons of postconsumer PET bottles per year.

January 31, 2022

Alpla, a global producer of sustainable packaging solutions and bottle-to-bottle recycler, says it plans to begin construction on a new recycling plant in Cunduacán, Tabasco, Mexico, as part of its joint venture with Mexico-City-based Coca-Cola FEMSA, a large bottler of Coca-Cola products.

The joint venture is investing $60 million in the new recycling plant, known as Planta Nueva Ecología de Tabasco (PLANETA). According to a news release from Alpla, the facility will have the capacity to process 50,000 metric tons of postconsumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles per year, which it says will result in 35,000 metric tons of recycled PET materials ready for reuse.

Alpla reports that construction and operation of PLANETA is expected to generate 20,000 direct and indirect jobs, helping to promote development and employment in southeast Mexico. The company says the facility also will integrate 18 collection centers throughout south and southeast Mexico to supply the facility.

“The big challenge today is the handling of the materials after the consumption phase,” says Alpla CEO Philipp Lehner. “We are currently investing worldwide in systems to give plastic packaging a value because then it is collected and recycled. With strong partners like Coca-Cola FEMSA at our side, we will be able to set up the necessary infrastructure and close the bottle cycle in as many regions as possible.”

Carlos Torres Ballesteros, Alpla’s managing director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, says this new plant for food-grade PET is the company’s third recycling plant in Mexico. He adds that Alpla plans to continue to invest more than 50 million euros (or about $56 million) every year between 2021 and 2025 to expand the company’s global recycling capacity.

Coca-Cola FEMSA reports that this latest investment also is in line with some of its sustainability commitments. The company, which is part of the global World Without Waste initiative launched by Coca-Cola Co., aims to make all of its packaging 100 percent recyclable by 2025 as well as integrate 50 percent recycled PET resin into bottles and collect 100 percent of that packaging by 2030.

Since 2005, Alpla reports that Alpla Mexico, Coca-Cola Mexico and Coca-Cola FEMSA have partnered to run Industria Mexicana de Reciclaje (IMER), a food-grade PET recycling plant. That facility has a production capacity of 15,000 metric tons of flakes from postconsumer PET scrap per year. The company says this plant has processed more than 140,000 metric tons of this material to date.