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The Recycling Partnership Announces First Grants to Improve Capture of PET 

PET Recycling Coalition awards 3 grants that will increase PET capture 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 26, 2023) – The Recycling Partnership’s PET Recycling Coalition (Coalition) announced three grants to grow and strengthen PET (plastic #1) recycling. In its initial round of granting, the Coalition awarded grants to two PET reclaimers and one Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) that will result in over 2.5 million pounds per year of new PET capture, 50 million pounds per year of new reclamation capacity, and bring access to thermoform recycling to the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. 

Through grants aimed at improving infrastructure, research, and knowledge sharing, the Coalition envisions a thriving PET recycling system that captures significantly more material, improving PET packaging circularity.    

“These projects will deliver the types of improvements that we view as being essential to the future of PET recycling,” said Adam Gendell, Director of System Optimization at The Recycling Partnership. “By helping MRFs and PET reclaimers capture and recover more of the material in their facilities, we will see meaningful gains in the amount of PET recycled in the short term, and by helping to grow reclamation capacity, we will ensure that there is robust infrastructure ready to handle future growth in PET recycling. We are pleased that these projects address the entirety of the PET recycling stream – bottles, thermoforms, and pigmented and opaque PET – and we’re excited to build on these early successes with our next rounds of granted projects.” 

DAK Americas LLC received a grant to help with the implementation of a new robotic sorter at its PET reclamation facility in Richmond, Indiana. The new robotic sorter will be installed on one of the facility’s outbound lines, capturing PET bottles, thermoforms, and pigmented opaque PET items that were previously commingled with undesired non-PET plastics and other byproduct commodities, allowing the facility to improve its efficiency and produce more recycled content. 

Direct Pack Recycling received a grant to assist in the construction of a new PET reclamation operation in Mexicali, Mexico, which will source material from MRFs across the U.S. and produce a significant amount of recycled content for new packaging. Direct Pack Recycling specializes in recycling thermoformed PET packaging like cups, clamshells, and trays, providing an important new outlet for non-bottle PET recycling. 

Both DAK Americas LLC and Direct Pack Recycling specialize in recycling pigmented and opaque PET, and these grants enable both facilities to grow and improve their recycling of the entirety of the PET recycling stream. 

Recycle Source received a grant to upgrade automated sorting technology at its MRF in Pittsburgh, PA, which will increase the efficiency of PET capture and result in a significant increase in the overall amount of PET the MRF delivers to PET reclaimers. The upgraded sorting technology will also improve the MRF’s ability to detect and sort PET thermoforms, bringing access to PET thermoform recycling to the greater Pittsburgh area. 

The work of the Coalition is supported by contributions from Steering Committee members Eastman, Indorama Ventures, the National Association of PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), Procter & Gamble, and the Walmart Foundation. Additional members include The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, Plastic Ingenuity, and Niagara Bottling. 

Following this first round of grants, the Coalition expects to announce three additional rounds of grants to multiple grantees throughout 2023. 

Companies interested in improving PET recycling in the U.S. should consider becoming a Coalition member and an active participant in elevating solutions. To learn more about the  Coalition, its members, and how to get involved in supporting its goals, visit recyclingpartnership.org/pet-recycling-coalition.   

About The Recycling Partnership   

At The Recycling Partnership, we are solving for circularity. As a mission-driven NGO, we are committed to advancing a circular economy by building a better recycling system. We mobilize people, data, and solutions across the value chain to reduce waste and our impact on the environment while also unlocking economic benefits.  We work on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs; we partner with companies to achieve packaging circularity, increase access to recycled materials, and meet sustainability commitments; and we work with government to develop policy solutions to address the systemic needs of our residential recycling system and advance a circular economy. We foster public-private partnerships and drive positive change at every step of the recycling and circularity process. Since 2014, we have diverted 770 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, saved 968 million gallons of water, avoided more than 670,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and driven significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at recyclingpartnership.org.