Coke Reopens Plastic Bottle Recycling Plant

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After six months of restructuring, Coca-Cola is reopening its Spartanburg, S.C., plastic recycling plant, which was designed to be the world’s largest bottle-to-bottle recycling plant. Photo: Coca-Cola Company

After shutting down in March and laying off workers, Coca-Cola’s bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., will reopen this week, according to PlasticsNews.com.

The $50 million facility opened in 2009 with plans of becoming the world’s largest recycling plant to process discarded plastic #1 PET beverage bottles into new bottles. But the factory, a joint venture between Coca-Cola and plastics recycling company United Resource Recovery Corp. (URRC), has run into a host of technical problems: from achieving the quality necessary to produce food-grade PET and having newer, lightweight bottles fly off the processing line.

READ: Pepsi Unveils First 100-Percent Recycled Soda Bottle

But URRC has spent the last six months working to modify equipment and improve recycling processes, and the company told PlasticsNews.com that the plant was set to reopen.

“We are restarting the plant,” Carlos Gutierrez, URRC president and CEO, told PlasticsNews.com. “We feel pretty good on the results from our retooling efforts. This plant is designed to produce food-grade resin.”

The Spartanburg facility was built to help Coke attain its goal of distributing 10 percent recycled-content plastic bottles in the United States, but the beverage maker has only been able to use about 5 percent recycled content in the past five years, PlasticsNews.com reports.

READ: Which Beverage Makers Support Recycling?

 

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