- Custom Synthetic Fibers LLC is opening a recycled polyester fiber facility in Rogersville, AL that should be operational by next month.
- The facility received an estimated $6 million in funding from a group of investors, including majority owners from Custom Polymers Inc. and Custom Polymers PET LLC.
- The company aims to generate 40 million pounds of recycled polyester staple fiber per year. It plans to focus on the automotive, home furnishing, industrial, apparel and consumer goods markets.
Finding new uses for PET bottles is important, especially as commodity values continue to fluctuate and large volumes of material are generated. Bottled water consumption in particular is expected to increase to the point that it will overtake soda by next year. While those types of bottles are lighter, there is still room to increase diversion rates.
Many big manufacturers have taken an interest in recycling PET bottles. Polartec — which sells fleece to major companies such as Patagonia and LL. Bean — announced that it had recycled more than one billion bottles last year. W Hotels Worldwide has teamed up with Ekocycle and Coca-Cola to use sheets made from plastic. The start-up Thread has also received a lot of attention for its work in Haiti and Honduras.
Custom Synthetic Fibers sees the potential in this market too. Its space has 80,000 square feet and the capacity to produce an additional 80 million pounds of material. The site will employ 50 employees to start, though owners hope to double that number in the next few years.