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ORPET breaks ground for US bottle recycling plant

United States – A year behind schedule the construction of an innovative plastic bottle recycling plant in Colombia, Oregon , has started. The $10 million, 25,000 square feet ORPET facility will process millions of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles a year.

According to ORPET, it hopes to start recycling by the end of November or early December. The plant will begin by hiring 25 employees and hopes over the following three years to double its employment. Bottles made of PET are now collected at 3,000 grocery stores in Oregon by the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, which administers Oregon’s bottle bill. The cooperative, a partner in the new plant, now loads PET bottles into containers that are shipped to Asia.

Denton Plastics Inc. of Gresham is a partner in the new project. With both Quantum and the recycling cooperative as partners, “we’ve created a dream team for PET recycling,” said company president Dennis Denton. Initially plans call for the facility to wash and cut the bottles into flakes, which will be sold for re-use. Next, after one or two years, equipment will be installed to convert the flakes into pellets and sheets. Finally after three years, the plant will get equipment to directly vacuum-mould the sheets into products such as clamshell containers. The amount of PET collected statewide is up from about 9 million pounds in 2008 to a projected 14 million pounds by the end of this year, said John Andersen, president of the recycling cooperative, which includes 65 Oregon beverage distributors. He said 20 million pounds of PET could be collected in Oregon next year.

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