Unifi partners with BHS on plastics recycling facility
New front-end system to purify PET for manufacture of high-tech fibre
Unifi Manufacturing, Inc. has selected Eugene, Oregon-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) to design, manufacture and install a front-end PET purification system at the Company’s Reidsville, North Carolina facility. The approximate $25 million investment will help Unifi achieve its goal of backward integration into bottle processing for its REPREVE recycled fibre product line.
The new system, set to begin operation in June 2016, will feature the latest in screen, air and optical sorting technologies from BHS, and BHS brands Nihot and National Recovery Technologies (NRT). The nine NRT optical sorters (using In-Flight Sorting technology) are pivotal to the secondary plastics purification process, according to Unifi. The system will process approximately 22,000 pounds per hour of PET bales, removing the non-PET content in preparation for converting bottles to flake.
“This state-of-the-art facility will raise the bar for Unifi, allowing us to internalize the majority of our flake requirements as we continue to expand our REPREVE filament and polymer chip business,” said Mark McNeill, vice president of technology and business development for Unifi.
REPREVE is a leading brand of recycled fibre that transforms recycled plastic bottles into yarn for products people wear and use every day. Since 2009, Unifi has recycled more than 4 billion plastic bottles into REPREVE based products made by some of the world’s favorite brands, including Haggar, Ford and Quiksilver, among others.
“This is an exciting project for all of us,” said BHS CEO Steve Miller. “Unifi is on the leading-edge of recycling, transforming plastic bottles into high-tech fibres that are used by world-leading brands. The company’s investment in this technology reflects Unifi’s commitment to creating material of the highest quality.”