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Coke Doubles Mexico PET Recycling Center

Coca-Cola Co. and its Mexican bottlers are investing $34 million to double the capacity of the PetStar SA de CV food-grade PET recycling plant in Toluca, Mexico, Waste & Recycling News reports.

When complete, the facility will have the capacity to recycle 120 million pounds of PET, also known as polyethylene terephthalate, making it the largest food-grade PET recycling center in Latin America, the news site said. PetStar’s initial PET recycling facility, opened in April 2009, has a capacity to reprocess 64 million pounds per year, the equivalent of 1 billion bottles, Plastics News reports.

Coke did not say how long the expansion will take, although the news sites say it’s expected to take about 14 months.

PetStar already uses a wash line from Amut SpA of Novara, Italy, and extrusion equipment from Swiss company Buhler AG. According to the reports, Coke will purchase additional equipment from both suppliers.

Earlier this month, Coke, along with Ford, H.J. Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble formed a strategic working group to accelerate the development and use of 100 percent plant-based PET materials and fiber in the companies’ products. Coca-Cola has also pledged to recycle all clear plastic PET bottles used at the London Olympics.

Last year, wholly owned Coke subsidiary Coca-Cola Recycling opened its fourth Reimagine Beverage Container recycling center at a Kroger supermarket in Irving, Texas, with plans to launch a fifth in Texas and then expand the program to other states. Reimagine machines scan, sort and crush customers’ bottles and cans at a rate of up to 200 a minute, giving them reward points that can be traded for free or discounted products, used to enter sweepstakes, or donated to local schools.

Coke developed the centers in partnership with Environmental Products Corp. of Naugatuck, Conn.

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