FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK; January 5, 2015— Just over two years ago, the doors to this bottle recycling facility were closed. Today, in a modern-day success story, PQ Recycling (PQR) is a prosperous branch of North Carolina-based PolyQuest, North America’s largest distributor of PET resins and manufacturer of recycled PET resins. The Farmingdale facility is running at capacity, 24-7, and has increased its output by over 60 percent since March, 2013. The millions of plastic bottles that come in the door are sorted, washed, and processed into flake, which is then turned into valuable products such as floor mats for cars, strapping or back into plastic bottles.
The business of taking plastic bottles from reverse vending machines, found in states with bottle rebate programs such as New York, and turning them into usable goods, is a trash-to-treasure operation. But this facility, which first opened in 1992, suffered from a series of mishaps and was eventually shut down.
Aided by the involvement of rPET reclamation industry veteran George Smilow, today Chief Operating Officer of PQR, and capital investments by PolyQuest, the facility was reborn as PQR. It is now a stable, reliable entity for the recycling industry.
The PolyQuest team saw the value in the facility, much like the value in the bottle waste the facility processes. “Since day one, our goal has been to provide our customers with the most comprehensive, highest quality, cost competitive PET products in the market”, says Tod Durst, Executive Vice President of PolyQuest. “When you take PQR’s ability to deliver high quality rPET bottle flake both to our internal and external customers and couple that with our well established virgin PET and rPET resin portfolio, we truly are a one stop supply option for the industry”.
The plant’s original capacity was approximately 18 million pounds annually. Today’s capacity is steadily running at three million pounds per month, with a projected output of 36 million pounds per year of clean flake.
New equipment, technology upgrades, improved quality control measures and upgraded safety procedures coupled with LNO approvals already in place have helped allow the facility to serve the highest value rPET end markets. PQR’s focus on safety, reliability and facility improvements have turned the plant into a well-oiled machine.
Customers and suppliers are pleased with its resurrection. “Safety is important to us, and you see that executed in their precise attention to details. We are happy to see this new PQ Recycling operation reaching its potential,” says Pete Steer, director of bottle recycling operations for Nestle Waters North America, a longtime supplier to PQR in Farmingdale.
“They are so good at what they do. The team at PQ Recycling brings a high level of transparency and honesty to their dealings and they understand the value of a long-term relationship,” adds John Caturano, redemption and commodity recycling manager, for bottle recycling operations at Nestle Waters.
Even further capital investments are already under way in Farmingdale as PQR continues its commitment to meet its customers’ higher quality standards and also expand production capacity.
“As we continue to cultivate our relationship with suppliers and customers, the potential to grow this business is exceptional given the increasing demand for recycled content by the industry we serve,” says Smilow.