The Spartanburg, S.C. plant has laid off all 50 of its factory workers and nearly all of its office staff, PlasticNews.com reported. Coca-Cola told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it is making plans to re-open the facility, but that the joint venture running the plant must be restructured “in light of current business conditions.”
The plant, described as the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling complex, opened in 2009 under a partnership between Coke and United Resource Recovery Corp. It was supposed to produce 100 million pounds of recycled plastic when fully operational, or about two billion 20-ounce Coke bottles.
Another aim was to test technology that would increase Coke’s access to recycled content for its bottles, the Journal-Constitution said.
In 2008 Coke estimated its investment in the plant at $60 million.
Coke said it is still aiming to derive 25 percent of its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic from recycled or renewable sources by 2015. The company also has a goal to replace all its 100 percent plastic packaging with PlantBottles, made of up to 30 percent Brazilian sugarcane, by 2020.
Last month Coca-Cola Enterprises and ECO Plastics formed a joint venture to develop a facility to more than double the amount of PET bottles recycled in Great Britain.