an office building and parking lot
Circularix's first processing location is a 100,000-square-foot building in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy of Circularix

Macquarie invests in PET recycler

Circularix, led by Leon Farahnik, will open the first of five facilities later this year in Pennsylvania.

July 1, 2022

HPC Industries LLC, Los Angeles, the former owner of defunct bottle-to-bottle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycler CarbonLite, which also was based in Los Angeles, and Australia-based Macquarie Group’s Commodities and Global Markets group have formed a joint venture to produce recycled PET (rPET) pellets that will operate under the name Circularix.

Leon Farahnik, chairman of HPC and the former chairman and CEO CarbonLite, serves as chairman and CEO of Circularix, while Alex Delnik, also formerly of CarbonLite as well as being the former CEO and founder of PET recycler Verdeco Recycling, will serve as president and chief operating officer. In addition to its investment as a partner in the joint venture, Macquarie is assisting Circularix with project debt, equipment finance, foreign exchange hedging and other risk management solutions to support its growth.

Farahnik declines to tell Recycling Today the stake that Macquarie has taken in Circularix, saying the information is confidential.  

According to a news release issued on behalf of Circularix, plans include building and operating five recycling facilities across the U.S. with a total annual production capacity of more than 275 million pounds of rPET. The first facility, in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, is expected to be operational by December 2022.

Farahnik says the 100,000-square-foot plant is near Allentown, Pennsylvania, which serves as a “major hub for all of our customers.” It will have the capacity to produce 55 million pounds of food-grade rPET pellets from flake rather than bottles, which it will purchase from within a 200-to-250-mile radius of the plant.

He says he expects the next site, which will be in Florida, to be operational in the second quarter of 2023. After that, roughly every six months, the company plans to open sites in Texas, Arizona and the Pacific Northwest, having chosen these locations because of their proximity to customers that Circularix intends to supply.

Farahnik adds that the sites are each expected to have 55 million pounds of capacity and will feature a high degree of automation as well as equipment from Austria-based Starlinger.

“Consumer brands are struggling to meet their sustainability goals as current rPET supply is unable to scale as needed,” Farahnik says in the news release about the new venture. “Our move into rPET production is the beginning of a major and much-needed capacity expansion in the United States, and we are excited to continue playing an important role in the plastics recycling industry by uniting our experience with Macquarie's." 

Macquarie is a leading provider of risk management, market access and capital and financing solutions to the petrochemicals industry and has played a leading role in environmental product markets, sustainable infrastructure and the waste sector around the world for more than 15 years. Macquarie formed its Sustainable Waste Solutions team in 2020 to provide finance and growth capital solutions to clients in the waste sector, with a focus on helping facilitate the transition to a circular economy. 

Farahnik says HPC had met with a number of investment groups after conceiving the project and was “very impressed with Macquarie’s knowledge of the business, recycling and sustainability.”

“We are delighted to support our clients in delivering the practical infrastructure needed to expand production capacity for post-consumer recycled materials,” says Ben Glover, executive director in Macquarie’s Specialized and Asset Finance division, in the news release. “Ventures such as Circularix are a key part of the supply chain that will drive more post-consumer material back into higher value recycled packaging markets.”