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Plastipak to add bottle-to-bottle recycling site in Spain

The company says it will convert rPET flakes into pellets suitable for use in food-contact packaging.

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May 14, 2021

Plastipak Packaging Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Plymouth, Michigan-based Plastipak Holdings Inc., is adding a recycling facility to its manufacturing site in Toledo, Spain. The new recycling facility will convert recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) flake into food-grade rPET pellets that can be used to manufacture new preforms, bottles and containers.

The new facility will be co-located with the company’s current preform and container manufacturing plant, facilitating additional carbon savings through the elimination of resin transport, according to Plastipak. The new recycling plant will produce 20,000 metric tons, or 22,000 short tons, of food-grade pellets annually. Production at the recycling facility is slated to begin in the summer of 2022. The project will create approximately 14 new jobs and include additional manufacturing and warehouse space.     

Pedro Martins, Plastipak executive managing director for Europe, says, “The investment in a new recycling facility in Spain will support both Plastipak and our customers in fulfilling our commitments to corporate social responsibility. The project comes in advance of minimum levels of recycled content mandated by the single-use plastics directive and will support brand owners to reduce their financial obligations under the planned Spanish plastics tax.” 

The European Union’s single-use plastics directive calls for 77 percent of plastic bottles to be collected for recycling by 2025. That requirement will increase to 90 percent by 2029. It also calls for incorporating 25 percent rPET in beverage bottles starting in 2025, and 30 percent in all plastic beverage bottles starting in 2030.

The company says this will be its fifth global location producing rPET, confirming Plastipak’s position as the largest producer of bottle-grade rPET in Europe. Plastipak has three rPET facilities in Europe (France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom), producing more than 130,000 metric tons (143,300 short tons) of recycled PET in Europe. The company also operates a high-density polyethylene and PET recycling plant in Dundee, Michigan. Its recycling facilities operate under the company’s Clean Tech Inc. subsidiary. 

Jack Pacente, vice president of global sustainability at Plastipak, says. “With over 30 years recycling expertise, Plastipak has led the way in the PET circular economy, with our long-standing business strategy of bottle-to-bottle recycling, using the output to directly support our preform and bottle manufacturing. We are delighted to announce this latest round of significant investment to support the growing demand for rPET in the Spanish market.”