USA – According to specialist publication Plasticsnews, a PET bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in which Coca-Cola is a joint-venture partner, is resuming the production of food-grade pellets after five months out of action.
The facility was opened by NURRC, a JV between the beverage producer and United Resource Recovery in January 2009 at a cost of US$50 million and was hailed as the world’s largest bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plant.
Coke aimed to achieve 10% percent recycled content in its PET bottles in the United States, but the true figure is believed to be nearer 5%.
‘We are restarting the plant,’ said Carlos Gutierrez, United President and CEO. ‘It is designed to produce food-grade resin. We feel pretty good on the results from our retooling efforts.’
NURCC has struggled to produce PET of consistent food-grade quality at Spartanburg. Sources told specialist publication Plasticsnews that yield had been low and that even in its retooled form, the plant could face problems recycling newer lightweight beverage and water bottles.
Most of the recycled PET resin has ended up in lower-end fibre and strapping, with only around 500 tonnes of the plant’s annual output going back into bottles when it was shut down in March.