Plastics Recycling Update

Recycled PET, PE product makers report earnings

Unifi, Advanced Drainage Systems, Trex and Greystone Logistics all recently released details on their finances. | Thapana Studio/Shutterstock

PET recycling company Unifi continues to enjoy higher sales of its flake and chip, even as recycled polyester fiber sales remain in the dumps. That was one takeaway in recent earnings releases from Unifi, Advanced Drainage Systems, Trex and Greystone Logistics. 

Unifi Inc.

Unifi, which recycles PET bottles into the Repreve brand of recycled polyester fiber, reported net sales of $138.8 million during the quarter ended Oct. 1, 2023, which was the first quarter of the company’s fiscal year. That was down 29.0% year over year. 

“The Company continues to experience sales volume declines as a result of inventory destocking and cautious ordering patterns by apparel brands and retailers,” a Unifi press release stated. “Such volume declines are accompanied by lower average selling prices, in part due to lower raw material costs.”

For the quarter, Unifi reported a net loss of $13.3 million, compared with a net loss of $7.8 million during the same quarter a year prior. 

“Our performance in the first quarter of fiscal 2024 reflects a continuation of the weak demand and depressed ordering patterns impacting the apparel industry and its supply chains,” Unifi CEO Eddie Ingle stated in the release. 

Repreve products, which encompass different recycled plastic fibers, accounted for about 31.0% of Unifi’s revenues during the quarter. That was an improvement of 4.0 percentage points year over year, according to a company presentation.

Unifi also sells recycled PET flake and chip. Although those lower-value products are not currently a significant portion of the company’s sales portfolio, executives want to encourage further sales growth in that area, executives said during a Nov. 2 conference call with investors

“We’ve continued to use much of that product to balance external sales and internal consumption,” A.J. Eager, the company’s treasurer, said during the call. “But we do see a lot of interest with customers in terms of some of the non textile and beyond apparel applications with that.”

Ingle added that the company does believe its RPET chip has some quality attributes that the market likes. 

“Our efforts to diversify our portfolio in the Americas through chip and flake sales have been successful and have experienced strong adoption, and we will continue to pursue this revenue opportunity going forward,” Ingle said. 

Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS)

The largest recycled plastics user in the U.S., Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) will build a pipe manufacturing facility in Lake Wales, Fla. A company spokesman said the factory will eventually use recycled resin. 

ADS announced Nov. 2 it would break ground in 2024 on a 100-acre site. The plant will manufacture corrugated thermoplastic pipe. ADS already operates manufacturing sites in the Florida cities of Sebring and Winter Garden. 

In an email to Plastics Recycling Update, Brian King, ADS’ executive vice president of product management and marketing, said the factory will initially produce piping from virgin PP, but it will eventually use recycled PE to make pipes. 

Meanwhile, ADS released its financial results for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2023. The company tallied net sales of $780.2 million, down 11.8% year over year, and net income of $137.0 million, down 10.7% year over year. 


The manufacturer of recycled polyethylene composite lumber products reported sales of $304.0 million during the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 62.0% year over year, according to a press release

The company, which is the largest scrap PE film consumer in the U.S., tallied net income of $65 million for the quarter, up 364.0% year over year. 

Regarding the sales boost, Trex said it “was substantially due to increased volume, which resulted from strong secular trends and the non-recurrence of the channel inventory drawdown that occurred during the 2022 quarter.”

Greystone Logistics

The Tulsa, Okla.-based manufacturer of recycled PE pallets reported sales of $17.4 million for the quarter ending Aug. 31, 2023, down 8.0% year over year. 

The company’s net income for the quarter was $1.7 million, up 27.0% year over year, however. 

The company said its gross profit margin increased to 23.2% for the quarter, up from 13% during the prior-year period, mostly as a result of lower raw material costs, according to a press release. Greystone uses tens of millions of pounds of recycled polyethylene in its products each year. 

The company has invested in new equipment recently. 

“The Company’s capital investment in two new large tonnage injection molding machines and a robotic extrusion line to manufacture hollow extrusion pallets were well timed in preparing Greystone for our next growth cycle,” CEO Warren Kruger stated in the press release. “New tooling for expansion of our products for selected markets – grocery, can, nut, cement, tech and beverage industries – is in process. We remain confident that we will fill our machines with aggressive marketing of our creatively designed products.”

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