PET flake / aykuterdogdu, ShutterstockA California company using a silicone-based additive in the creation of food-contact-approved recycled PET is expanding production to Indiana.

South Gate, Calif.-based Verdeco Recycling is opening a production facility in Terre Haute, Ind., the company announced. The facility will be capable of producing up to 60 million pounds per year of PET suitable for food and drink packaging.

Verdeco uses what it calls PET-M technology, first developed in 2001 by Czech Republic-based PTP Group. In addition to utilizing flake washing, drying, melting, degassing, vacuum pumping and melt filtering, the recycling process includes introducing a silicon-based modifier.

Verdeco has been licensing the PET-M process from PTP Group since 2012.

The additive helps generate recycled PET with properties on par with virgin resin, according to PTP Group, which uses the technology to produce more than 12,000 metric tons of pellets and flakes each year in Europe.

The additive also makes the plastic less sensitive to the presence of polyolefin residuals because it allows them to be integrated into the matrix of PET, according to PTP Group.

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved use of the plastic in food and drink packaging at up to 100 percent recycled content. PTP Group says the technology passes the recyclability protocol established by PET trade group Petcore Europe.

“This endeavor will give the company a U.S. capacity totaling over 100 million pounds annually,” Rick Blakeslee, Verdeco’s project manager, stated in a press release. “By reducing shipping costs and increasing the company’s capacity and reach across the region and U.S., Verdeco Recycling will effectively amplify distribution in a cost-effective, eco-friendly manner.”