- Circularix, a producer of food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate, announced Monday it will source an unspecified portion of material from Republic Services’ network of polymer centers.
- Circularix began operations at a facility in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, last year with annual capacity to produce an estimated 55 million pounds of rPET pellets. Another facility is set to open in Ocala, Florida, during the first half of this year.
- “This agreement aligns with our environmental goals and our dedication to providing beverage brands and CPG companies the material needed to make good on their sustainability commitments,” said Circularix CEO Leon Farahnik in a statement.
This announcement is the latest example of recycling-related companies looking to scale up domestic processing capabilities as more brands want to source rPET for their packaging.
Circularix was founded in 2022 as a joint venture between HPC Industries and Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets group. Macquarie also said it was “assisting Circularix with project debt, equipment finance, FX hedging and other risk management solutions to support its future growth.”
At the time, Circularix said its goal was to build five facilities in the U.S. with a combined annual production capacity exceeding 275 million pounds of rPET resin. Future locations after Florida are expected to include Texas and West Coast states. The timing and location of those future launches continues to evolve, as reported by Plastics News last year.
The company’s leadership team has prior experience in the rPET sector. President and COO Alex Delnik previously worked at Verdeco Recycling and CarbonLite. Farahnik was CEO of CarbonLite, a former HPC subsidiary that was once one of the largest rPET manufacturers in the U.S. before it declared bankruptcy in 2021. Farahnik told Waste Dive last year that Circularix’s model was different than the prior business because it planned to purchase flakes to turn into pellets, whereas CarbonLite shredded and washed baled PET before pelletizing it.
This partnership is the latest in a series of announcements from Republic about its planned expansion into plastics recycling beyond the MRF stage. The company opened its first polymer center in Las Vegas last month, with plans to produce more than 100 million pounds of recycled plastics each year — including PET and other resin categories. Coca-Cola was announced as an rPET customer last summer.
Republic estimates it could spend a total of $300 million on four polymer centers, including $70 million in Las Vegas. Additionally, it plans to spend $160 million for multiple locations via a joint venture with Ravago called Blue Polymers.
“Through our Polymer Center network, we're helping customers achieve their ambitious recycled content goals by producing high-quality recycled plastics for use in sustainable packaging,” said Pete Keller, Republic’s vice president of recycling and sustainability in a statement, touting the prospect of bottle-to-bottle recycling with Circularix.
The companies have cited growing rPET demand from major brands — due to voluntary commitments and certain state mandates — as driving factors. Progress has been incremental, with some brands even reporting an increase in virgin plastic use during recent years. The latest progress report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that signatories to its own voluntary goals, which include many of the world’s largest brands, could be on track to hit an average 17% recycled content rate by 2025 across multiple types of plastic.