Leon Farahnik, founder, chairman and CEO of CarbonLite Holdings LLC, a Los Angeles-based recycler of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, says the company is eyeing a location near Allentown, Pennsylvania, for its third bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plant. This facility will enable the company to increase the number of postconsumer PET beverage bottles it recycles annually by 50 percent to more than 6 billion, CarbonLite says. The company currently has recycling plants in Riverside, California, and in Dallas.
Farahnik adds that the company is eyeing an existing building in the area and that the deal should be completed by late July. CarbonLite says it expects to invest $60 million in the plant, which it anticipates starting up in late 2019.
The location was attractive to CarbonLite, Farahnik says, because it is close to the company’s consuming customers. Nestle Waters North America and Pepsico are the primary consumers of CarbonLite’s raw material, which supports their sustainability efforts.
CarbonLite expects to source bottle bales for the plant to process throughout the Northeast, he says. The Pennsylvania plant likely will purchase 100 million pounds of bales annually, producing 60 million to 65 million pounds of finished goods, Farahnik adds.
The new plant will be equipped similarly to the company’s existing facilities, he says. Its Dallas plant features a washing line supplied by Italy-based Amut Group and is capable of producing more than 12,000 pounds per hour PET flake from postconsumer bales sourced from material recovery facilities (MRFs), making it the second plant of this size that Amut has installed in the U.S.
CarbonLite calls itself the world’s largest producer of postconsumer bottle-to-bottle food-grade PET, with its plants in Riverside and Dallas processing more than 4 billion postconsumer beverage bottles annually. Its recycled resin is used to produce new PET bottles and thermoforms.
“Through state-of-the-art facilities, technologies and equipment, CarbonLite is fully invested in and committed to helping preserve our precious resources, reduce the PET industry’s carbon footprint, diminish our landfill problems and protect our waterways,” Farahnik says. “With the addition of the Pennsylvania plant, our three facilities will save more than 180,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.”