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Clear Path starts up phase one of PET bottle recycling facility

Clear Path Recycling LLC (CPR; Fayetteville, NC), the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling joint-venture company established by flooring manufacturer Shaw Industries Group Inc. (Dalton, GA) and PET resin manufacturer DAK Americas LLC (Charlotte, NC) has started up phase one of its new PET bottle-recycling operation.

Clear Path Recycling LLC (CPR; Fayetteville, NC), the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling joint-venture company established by flooring manufacturer Shaw Industries Group Inc. (Dalton, GA) and PET resin manufacturer DAK Americas LLC (Charlotte, NC) has started up phase one of its new PET bottle-recycling operation. In an interview with PlasticsToday, Ron Salati, VP of administration and commercial affairs for Clear Path, said that inventory build of waste bottles to be recycled has been underway since the fourth quarter of 2009, with approximately 20 million lb of inventory being maintained.

PET bottle bales await recycling at Clear Path's NC facility.
PET bottle bales await recycling at Clear Path's North Carolina site.
This initial startup represents phase one of the project, with phase two set to begin in early 2011 on an as-needed basis. Speaking with PlasticsToday on August 6, Salati said operations had been underway for three weeks at the time, with the capability to convert 120,000 million lb bottles into 90 million lb of clean, PET flake. Once phase two is completed, the plant will be able to take in 160 million lb of bottles and convert it into 120,000 million lb of PET flake.

At this point in time, Salati said that all the output is consumed by Shaw for use in fibers and carpets. DAK, which will focus on utilizing the reclaimed PET in resin and bottles, is still in a "developmental" phase for its planned use of the reclaimed material, according to Ricky Lane, corporate communications director at DAK. Eventually, the goal is to have 75% of the JV's output consumed by the ownership group, with the remaining 25% sold to outside companies.

Currently there are 57 employees, but that figure will increase to 82 once the second line is started up. Salati said the company has been purchasing curbside-collected post-consumer PET bottles primarily from east of the Mississippi River, with some exceptions, but in the future it will purchase scrap bottles on a national basis. Salati, who was part of DuPont when its polyester business was spun off to create DAK, managed the Shaw account for DAK before coming onboard with Clear Path, and he sees a ready market for the new company's product. "There is huge momentum for recycling and the use of recycled resin right now," Salati said, "particularly when they perform as well as virgin."

Located two miles off key north/south East Coast corridor, I-95, the Clear Path site is collocated with DAK's Fayetteville, NC production facility. It covers 45 acres, with nine of those composed of concrete storage areas for bottle collection. In addition to rail access, the site has two manufacturing buildings and an on-site wastewater treatment facility. [email protected]

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