CarbonLITE Holdings, LLC, announced Tuesday that it has begun production at its Reading, Pa., plant, which is currently the largest standalone bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in the world.
CarbonLITE, the world’s largest recycler of plastic bottles, first announced the new facility in Pennsylvania in spring 2018 and construction of the plant wrapped up earlier this year. The $80 million, 270,000 square-foot plant, located approximately 30 miles from Allentown, is outfitted with advanced robotic systems and will ultimately generate 90 million pounds of food-grade rPET pellets each year.
“Even with the pandemic and this spring’s constraints on recycling and industrial supply chains, we pushed forward so that we can help our customers expeditiously fulfill their growing commitments to recycled-plastic use,” said CarbonLITE CEO Leon Farahnik. “We are proud to continue to help advance closed-loop, bottle-to-bottle recycling and a circular economy in a significant way.”
Company officials said the recycling plant adds 130 jobs to the area and they are currently considering a separate packaging company within city limits as well, according to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.
CarbonLITE’s longstanding customers, which include Nestle Waters in North America, Coca-Cola, Keurig Dr Pepper, PepsiCo, and other global beverage brands, have facilities in Allentown.
The new facility, like CarbonLITE’s plants in California and Texas, is expected to prevent the release of more than 60,000 tons of carbon emissions annually by enabling customers to avoid the use of virgin plastic produced from petroleum. CarbonLITE also provides rPET produced from ocean-bound plastic waste for the new ZenWTR premium water bottles, a first in the industry, and for all types of PET packaging, thereby further helping to rid the marine environment of plastic pollution. The company’s PinnPACK Packaging subsidiary specializes in food packaging made from post-consumer recycled plastic.
The company is planning to open a fourth PET recycling plant in Orlando, Fla.