Plastic flake with baled plastic in background.

Indorama has stated it will invest more than $1 billion in recycling over the next five years. | RecycleMan/Shutterstock

Indorama Ventures, the world’s biggest prime PET producer, has acquired another U.S. plastics recycling company, this time on the West Coast.

Indorama announced on Dec. 4 it has acquired Fontana, Calif.-based Green Fiber International, which has the capacity to produce 88 million pounds per year of PET flakes. Green Fiber’s 140,000-square-foot plant produces RPET for food-contact packaging. Indorama signed the purchase agreement with LQ Inc., which owned Green Fiber, on Dec. 3. The price paid wasn’t disclosed.

“This acquisition extends IVL’s recycled flake supply chain to the West Coast, allowing us to further support the efforts of our customers in the water and soft drinks industry to ensure that PET bottles are recycled and put to further use, thus ensuring the creation of a circular economy,” according to an Indorama press release.

In January 2019, Thailand-headquartered Indorama acquired Custom Polymers PET’s recycling facility in Athens, Ala. Indorama paid about $30 million for the company, which has the capacity to produce 60 million pounds of RPET flake and 20 million pounds of food-grade RPET pellets per year.

Indorama said the California acquisition is strategically in line with the company’s sustainability objectives and part of its plan to invest significantly in recycling over the next five years. Indorama has stated it will invest more than $1 billion in recycling over the next five years, with a goal of being able to offer at least 25% recycled content in plastic sold for packaging production.

A recently published document from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation shows Indorama and virgin plastic producer Borealis are still selling overwhelmingly virgin plastic to customers. The document, which provides an update on meeting goals laid out in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, showed post-consumer PET makes up only about 0.5% of Indorama’s offerings, and recycled plastic accounts for about 3% of Borealis’s plastic products.

In addition to mechanical recycling, Indorama is supporting chemical recycling technologies for PET in North America and Europe. It signed a deal with Canadian startup Loop Industries to build a PET depolymerization unit at Indorama’s Spartanburg, S.C. production facility. That unit will use Loop’s low-heat, pressureless process to depolymerize up to 88 million pounds of scrap PET per year, generating chemicals that Indorama will use to make new plastic. In Europe, Indorama signed an agreement with Dutch startup Ioniqa, which has a unit depolymerizing PET. The parties are working to scale up production to 22 million pounds per year.

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