Industrial plastic recycler Midwest has announced plans to set up a new PET recycling plant by March 2013, which would mark its expansion into the food-grade post-consumer PET business.

Upon completion, the new plant is expected to produce about 50 million pounds of recycled food-grade PET annually at a rate of 7,000lbs per hour, expanding Midwest’s recycling operations from 80,000ft² to 120,000ft².

The location of the facility is yet to be decided, though a company spokesperson said that it could be close to the present recycling facility in Gurnee, Illinois.

Midwest president and CEO Alex Casillas said the expansion’s main objective is to enable US firms to use more recycled PET in their packaging, thus minimising their carbon footprint.

"Our goal is to eliminate our country’s dependency upon foreign virgin PET resin by (…) manufacturing recycled PET resin from local sources of PET plastic [in order to] produce enough food-grade rPET to sustain the local companies’ needs," Casillas added.

Through the new facility, the company plans to manufacture recycled resin for local production and sell food-grade recycled PET resin to food and beverage packaging companies.

Midwest has partnered with Italian recycling equipment manufacturer Amut to create a totally closed-loop recycling solution that brings down the facility’s use of energy, water and chemicals.

"Amut’s technology and innovation provide for a cost-efficient recycling plant," Casillas added.

Commenting on the partnership, Amut North America president Anthony Georges said, "We can reduce our demand on virgin plastics through recycling, and thereby reuse the plastic again to make another new product which will close loop in the recycling process."