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New PET recycling facility puts down roots in California

Backed by one of the industry's notable processors, with 100 million lb of PET recycling capacity planned for its start, CarbonLite Industries is putting down its roots in a new 220,000-ft2 facility in Riverside, CA. The plant is scheduled to come onstream in mid-2011. 

facility in Riverside, CA. The plant is scheduled to come onstream in mid-2011. 

The company is the brainchild of Leon Farahnik, one of the most successful plastics processors in North America. Farahnik's holding company, HPC Industries LLC, in April 2010 completed the sale of its thermoforming business, PWP Industries, to Pactiv Corp. for $200 million. PWP had established a postconsumer recyclate PET (PCR-PET) recycling facility in Parkersburg, WV in mid-2008. Earlier in his career Farahnik started a company that eventually grew into Hilex-Poly, the world's largest processors of plastic shopping bags.

As we reported in our Notable Processors feature earlier this year, Farahnik had said he intended to enter the PET recycling market; CarbonLite will be the fruit of his efforts. With $40 million invested in it, the newly formed company will produce bottle-grade PET pellet and flake from postconsumer PET bottles with a first-phase annual capacity of 100 million lb per annum. This will make CarbonLite the largest bottle-grade PCR-PET producer in the Western States.

Plans already are in the works to double its capacity to 200 million lb when a second phase comes onstream in 2012.

At the operative helm of CarbonLite will be Neville Browne, its president. According to Browne, recycling's opportunities are only getting started, especially for single-use packaging. "Making packaging degradable is not the answer . . . that's almost as bad as incineration. The implications for carbon reduction and resource preservation make recycling the only responsible option," says Browne.

Until the Riverside facility is operational, the CarbonLite team will operate from HPC's offices in Century City, Los Angeles.—[email protected]

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