From a single location in January 2021, Evergreen has grown to four locations across North America: the original facility in Clyde, Ohio; Albany, New York; Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Riverside, California. Evergreen Albany (formerly UltrePET) and Evergreen Amherst (formerly Novapet) were acquired from wTe Corp. in November 2021. Evergreen Riverside was acquired from CarbonLite in May 2021. As a result, Evergreen’s annual capacity of rPET has increased to more than 147 million pounds, up from 40 million pounds just one year ago.
Evergreen has also announced a major expansion at Clyde, adding a 54,000-square-foot building to its existing 238,000-square-foot facility. The addition will house four high-volume, food grade rPET manufacturing lines. When completed in June 2022, Evergreen’s annual rPET capacity will swell to 217 million pounds.
Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors and The Sterling Group, Evergreen President and CEO Omar Abuaita says the company is just getting started. “We would not have invested some $200 million in this business if we did not feel strongly about market demand and our integrated value proposition. We have invested massively, and it is our intention to continue to invest and grow Evergreen.”
Evergreen General Manager Greg Johnson says the company is focused on expansion, modernization, building its workforce, expanding plastics recycling rates, and converting more companies to recycled PET from virgin resin. “We’ve been in this business for more than two decades and are excited to take a leadership role in its transformation. Evergreen has the expertise to help customers close the loop on PET plastic. Now, with our strategic acquisitions, expansion at Clyde and collaborative industry partnerships with American Beverage and others, we have the network and volume to really make an impact,” he says.
A recent report published by the National Association for PET Container Resources found a 10 percent increase in end-use demand of rPET in 2020 with the food and beverage category as the fastest growing category, increasing 36 percent from 2019 to 2020.
“America’s beverage companies are carefully designing our bottles to be 100 recyclable and we want them all back so they can be remade into new bottles, as intended” said Megan Daum, American Beverage’s Vice President of Sustainability. “Increasing the use of post-consumer recycled material in our bottles is a top priority of our industry which is why we’re making critical investments in recycling infrastructure, like we have done with Evergreen. Public-private partnerships like these are essential in driving solutions to close the loop on our bottles and reduce the use of new plastic.”
Evergreen has also increased the number of post-consumer PET bottles it collects and recycles. In January 2021, the company recycled about 2 billion PET bottles a year. That number is now 11.6 billion bottles. Evergreen is also transforming recycling processes. It has deployed AI-enabled robots that sort PET bottles from moving streams of waste at speeds up to three times faster and at higher accuracy than manual sorting. “We don’t want any recyclable bottles to get past us,” Johnson says.
Evergreen partners with municipalities and aggregators on recycling programs. It retains the PET bottles and sells materials like corrugated and metal cans to other recyclers and manufacturers. Evergreen has also launched sustainability programs with companies to help capture recyclables and reduce reliance on landfills. The program tracks volumes of recovered recyclables and other data critical to sustainability and ESG reporting.