Photo courtesy of Evergreen

Every Bottle Back, Closed Loop Partners invest in Evergreen

The American Beverage Association and the Ohio Beverage Association, in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, are investing $5 million toward Evergreen’s $22 million expansion of its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling plant in Clyde, Ohio. Half of the $5 million investment is from the American Beverage Association in partnership with Closed Loop Partners through the beverage industry’s Every Bottle Back initiative, and the other half is from Closed Loop Partners’ Infrastructure Fund.

Earlier this year, Evergreen announced its plans to double production capacity at its plant to 80 million pounds of recycled PET (rPET) annually by 2022.

Greg Johnson, Evergreen corporate vice president, told Recycling Today at the time of the announcement that the investment will include upgrading four of the six optical flake sorters on its wash line with equipment from Tomra Sorting Recycling, Germany, as well as the addition of 54,000 square feet to its existing 240,000-square-foot building in Clyde to accommodate a third pelletizing line to be supplied by Vienna-based Starlinger. Evergreen also will install two solid-state polycondensation (SSP) reactors from Starlinger, on two of its pelletizing lines. The SSP reactors decontaminate the flakes and increase the intrinsic viscosity of the rPET pellets the company produces, according to Starlinger.

In a news release issued by Every Bottle Back, Omar Abuaita, CEO of Greenbridge, the Mentor, Ohio-based parent company of Evergreen, says, “Evergreen is pleased to partner with the Ohio Beverage Association and Closed Loop Partners to expand our Clyde recycling and manufacturing facility and accommodate the heightened demand for rPET.”

Abuaita adds that the facility’s expansion will “create new jobs while building on our company’s commitment to recycling, sustainability and closed-loop solutions.”

“We are excited to support Evergreen’s expansion, which will help Ohio’s beverage companies close the loop on its 100-percent-recyclable beverage containers,” says Kimberly McConville, executive director of the Ohio Beverage Association, Columbus, Ohio, in the news release. “This is the second Every Bottle Back investment in Ohio, building on our industry’s commitment to strengthen recycling infrastructure, increase the collection of our plastic bottles and work towards using more recycled content.”

Every Bottle Back previously partnered with The Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia, and Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) to invest in Ohio’s Pleasant Township and the city of Whitehall. Those communities received grants to purchase new carts and to deliver recycling education materials to every home as part of SWACO’s ongoing “Recycle Right, Make a Difference” program.

Lead by the American Beverage Association, Every Bottle Back is an initiative by The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo designed to reduce the beverage industry’s plastic footprint by getting back more of the industry’s recyclable plastic bottles to be remade into new bottles. This latest investment will help finance the new building at Evergreen’s Clyde plant.

“Through our partnership with Evergreen and Closed Loop Partners, this project—along with several others throughout the region and country—will help capture and process more of our valuable, 100-percent-recyclable plastic bottles so they can be remade into new bottles,” says Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association. “This project is another example of the power of private-public partnerships created through Every Bottle Back to build a circular economy for plastic and keep it out of the environment.”

Ron Gonen, founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners, New York City, says, “To build a truly circular economy and meet the demand for food-grade recycled content, bottle-to-bottle recycling is critical. This investment in Evergreen helps strengthen the market for recycled plastics and inspire other local markets and states to participate in building a waste-free future. Together, Evergreen and the American Beverage Association have pooled key resources to make this project a priority, underscoring the importance of working across the public and private sectors to reduce the use of new plastic and protect the planet for future generations.”

The Washington-based American Beverage Association says the Evergreen investment is the 10th of 13 initial projects the beverage industry has committed to fund under Every Bottle Back. To date, through Every Bottle Back the industry has committed $10.6 million in funding to projects that it says will yield an estimated 647 million more pounds of PET over 10 years.