The world’s largest PET producer, Indorama Ventures, has now recycled the equivalent of 100 billion PET bottles.
The Bangkok-headquartered company, which owns PET recycling assets in the U.S., recycled the equivalent of over 100 billion post-consumer bottles (about 2.1 million tons of recycled material) between February 2011 and September 2023, according to a press release.
“The scale of the waste challenge requires us all to do more, faster. In March 2020, we announced achieving the milestone of 50 billion PET bottles recycled in nine years. Today we hit the 100 billion mark in three and a half years,” Aloke Lohia, founder and group CEO of Indorama Ventures, stated in the release.
The release notes the company has spent over $1 billion over the past decade on collection of used PET bottles. Indorama Ventures has committed another $1.5 billion to expand its recycling business so that it can produce 750,000 metric tons of RPET per year.
Indorama Ventures has been investing to expand its RPET production capacity, but the amount of RPET it produces still pales in comparison with the virgin PET it puts on the market each year. According to the latest New Plastics Economy Global Commitment report, RPET made up 5.8% of the total PET Indorama put on the market between June 2021 and June 2022. That was down 0.2 percentage points from the prior year. Indorama is aiming for 12% by 2025, according to the report.
Even Indorama’s goal of producing 750,000 metric tons of RPET per year falls short of covering the PET that will be produced by just one plant the company is involved in building in Corpus Christi, Texas. The facility will produce up to 1.1 million tons of virgin PET and 1.3 million tons of terephthalic acid (a chemical used to make PET) per year. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned in 2025, according to the Oil & Gas Journal.
As far as recycling facilities, Indorama Ventures now has 20 sites in Asia, the Americas and Europe. In the U.S., it owns Athens, Ala.-based Custom Polymers PET and Fontana, Calif.-based Green Fiber International. Since acquiring those plants, Indorama has invested into boosting their capacity.
The company’s more recent RPET investments have been outside the U.S., including in India, France, the Philippines and Poland. Three years ago, Indorama Ventures received a $300 million “blue loan,” or one intended to reduce ocean pollution, with the funds going to RPET investments in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Brazil.