Published On: Fri, Jan 28th, 2011

$10 million plastic bottle recycling facility may begin production July 1

The $10 million state-of-the-art project, which will convert millions of plastic bottles each year, was first announced in fall 2009. But since then, it has hit a few bureacratic snags, including working through the logistics of bank loans, equipment purchases and finalizing design plans.

Bruce Sone, project manager and consultant for Portland’s Denton Plastics, said it would have been nice to start building a few months back, but things are still moving forward. He said phase one of the operation, which will create a facility to grind and sort the bottles into unwashed raw plastic flakes, should begin by July 1. Phase two, planned to start by Sept. 1, will build a facility to wash the material so it can be sold to companies that can convert the plastic into products ranging from clothing, carpet or even new plastic bottles. The clean plastic flakes can be sold for a higher price than the dirty material.

Initially, 25 jobs are expected to be created, with a goal of eventually hiring 50 total. The contractor has already sent out bids.

“The project is absolutely going forward, everything is fine,” Sone said.

The bottles that will be recycled (made from the resin PET, or polyethylene terephthalate) are the same ones you recycle at the supermarket under Oregon’s Bottle Bill, and will be converted at the ORPET facility into materials for manufacturing, construction and packaging. ORPET will be the region’s first PET recycling plant.

ORPET is a public-private partnership between plastic-industry veterans Dennis Denton and Tom Leaptrott, as well as the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative, the group that facilitates the state’s bottle bill.

The ORPET facility will be built on an already existing 128,000-square-foot foundation in the Port of St. Helens-owned Multnomah Industrial Park in Warren.


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