Unifi Opens REPREVE® Recycling Center
The investment covered construction of a new building and the purchase of two state-of-the-art extrusion lines plus auxiliary material handling equipment. One line has the capacity to convert some 31 million pounds per year of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into chip. The other line can convert some 11 million pounds per year of post-industrial fiber and fabric waste into chip. In the future, Unifi also expects to be able to recycle fabrics and garments. In addition to the expanded capacities and capabilities, the company expects to be able to offer improved fiber color and to increase the volume of materials processed, thereby realizing economic benefits.
Unifi reports that over the last two years, it has recycled more than 247 million post-consumer PET bottles into Repreve fiber and estimates that in 2012, the new facility will recycle more than 400 million bottles into Repreve. The company anticipates that the operation ultimately will recycle some 900 million PET bottles and save the equivalent of 16 million gallons of gasoline annually.
"The opening of the REPREVE Recycling Center solidifies Unifi's commitment to be the world's leader in the production of sustainable fibers," said Unifi President and COO Roger Berrier. He added that the company will hire at least 25 new employees at the center once it becomes fully operational.
The building includes environmentally friendly features such as: 67 skylights to bring in natural sunlight; energy-efficient light fixtures controlled by sensor technology; low-flow fixtures and motion sensors that are expected to reduce water consumption by 34 percent; and an energy recovery kit that captures and re-utilizes heat generated during production of Repreve chip. Many of the building materials were sourced regionally and themselves were made using recycled materials.
All photographs courtesy of Aesthetic Images Photography