Plastics Recycling Update

Loan helps packaging supplier Pinnpack boost capacity

Pinnpack, formerly owned by CarbonLite, will significantly increase its processing capacity with help from the loan. | Millenius/Shutterstock

The state of California provided a $3.5 million loan to an RPET thermoform manufacturer to help it triple its production capacity and decrease employee headcount, according to state records. 

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) on Nov. 9 approved the Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) loan to Pinnpack Capital Holdings, which was salvaged from the collapse of nationwide PET reclaimer CarbonLite in 2021. 

According to CalRecycle documents uploaded in conjunction with the department’s Dec. 19 public meeting, Oxnard, Calif.-based Pinnpack plans to use the money to buy a co-extruder and pay for related improvements, allowing the company to make food-grade thermoforms with up to 80% recycled content. 

According to the documents, Pinnpack currently recycles about 2,000 tons of PET bottle flake per year into thermoformed packaging. It uses no PET thermoform flake.  The project will allow Pinnpack to use an additional 2,000 tons per year of bottle flake and begin using over 1,800 tons per year of PET thermoform flake, boosting overall capacity from 2,000 tons per year to over 5,800 tons per year. 

The documents indicate Pinnpack currently employs 183 staff members, and the project will allow the company to decrease headcount by 23 positions. 

According to loan program criteria approved by CalRecycle in September, the department prioritizes applications for projects that support a circular economy and provide jobs and community benefits. 

Pinnpack was once owned by nationwide PET reclaimer CarbonLite Holdings, which filed for bankruptcy in early 2021. Then known as Pinnpack Packaging, the company went up for auction in June. A newly formed company called Pinnpack Capital Holdings purchased it for $9.6 million, saving it from closure. That newly formed company was controlled by a former CarbonLite and Pinnpack Packaging leader. 

Pinnpack is very familiar with CalRecycle’s loan programs, both before and after it was acquired at the court-approved auction. 

According to state records, Pinnpack Packaging tapped into four RMDZ loans between 2006 and 2020 totaling $5.48 million. The interest rates on the four loans ranged from 4% to 5.2%, and all were repaid. 

Since then, Pinnpack Capital Holdings received an $11 million RMDZ loan in August 2022 with a 3.8% interest rate. That loan hasn’t been repaid yet, state records show. This latest loan, for $3.5 million and paid to Pinnpack Dec. 15, also has a 3.8% interest rate.

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