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Custom Polymers accelerates plans for recycled PET business

Charlotte, NC—Custom Polymers Inc.’s (Charlotte, NC) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling business, Custom Polymers PET LLC, is actively discussing and reviewing Phase II of its business plan following strong demand for the company’s post-consumer (PCR) and post-industrial PET.

, is actively discussing and reviewing Phase II of its business plan following strong demand for the company’s post-consumer (PCR) and post-industrial PET. Marketing Manager Amy Morgan-Felix says that the company launched in February with 30-million-lb capacity for FDA-approved PCR resin, quickly establishing a firm customer base, prompting the company to consider expediting its business plan, which initially called for Phase II expansion in 2011. In addition to two custom wash lines that allow the company to convert 50 million lb of post-consumer PET flake into clean flake, the company also has the ability to pelletize nearly 30 million lb of PET into FDA food-grade pellets. The company offers custom packaging for the recycled PET, ranging from supersacks, gaylords, bulk truck, or bulk rail, with domestic or international shipping by water, rail, or land.

The business operates from Athens, AL, where it has three facilities, including a warehouse, washing/grinding/separation facility, and separate pelletizing plant. Morgan-Felix says that at this time, the business employs 48 and has secured adequate PET supply streams. “We have what we need at the moment,” Morgan-Felix says, “but we’re always looking for good feedstock and are looking to grow our supply in the future.” Targeting sales to bottlers, as well as sheet and film extruders, the business is projected to be equal in size to the parent company in three years. In 2009, parent company Custom Polymers Inc., a global recycler and reprocesssor, handled 240 million lb of both commodity- and engineering-grade materials.

According to the 2007 Post-Consumer PET container recycling report (2008’s report will be published this fall) from the National Assn. for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Assn. of Post Consumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), the total pounds of PET bottles and jars available for recycling in the U.S. in 2007 was 5.683 billion. The amount of post-consumer PET bottles actually collected for recycling and sold in the U.S. was 1.396 billion lb, marking the fourth straight year that the recycling rate has increased. Breaking that number down, 641 million lb was purchased by U.S. reclaimers, 710 million lb was purchased by export markets, and another 45 million lb of PET bottles was exported in mixed bales. The recycling rate in the U.S. for post-consumer PET bottles most recently peaked in 1996 at 31.7%, before dropping for seven straight years. Since 2003, it has climbed from 19.6% to 24.6% in 2007. Tony Deligio

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