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Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear

This is certainly an overworked phrase, but occasionally you run into a situation where it seems particularly relevant. On a recent trip to the Los Angeles area, I had the opportunity to visit a state-of-the-art PET recycling facility that, in my opinion, qualifies. Owned by Global P.E.T Inc., the plant, which is located in Perris, CA, recycles 60 million lbs of PET bottles/year. All are sourced from California’s 5 cent recycling program. Global P.E.T. was founded in 1997 by owner and president Nadim Bahou to grind clean PET bottles. In 2005 he received a grant of nearly $7 million from the state of California and established a 10-year partnership agreement with the Plastic Recycling Corp. of California (PRCC) to recycle the 60 million pounds of discarded PET bottles and installed a unique system from Amut to clean and grind the recycled bottles. This system features extensive water recycling that drastically reduces the water used in the operation. Global P.E.T. recently built an adjacent facility that uses the flakes from the recycling plant to make extruded film and thermoformed trays. Here again, the company has gone the extra mile. According to Bahou, these are the only trays now on the market that are made from 100 percent recycled PET (RPET) that are FDA-approved for direct food contact without requiring a capping layer of virgin PET. You can read more about the recycling and the extrusion and thermoforming operations in the May issue of Packaging Digest.

This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity, if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it. Al Capone

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