FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.— Clear Path Recycling, a joint venture between Shaw Industries and DAK Americas, officially began processing operations in July. Created to produce recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) from post-consumer plastic bottles, Clear Path Recycling will bring the first phase of its facility here to full capacity by the fourth quarter of this year.
The RPET processed through Clear Path is now being used as post consumer recycled content to significantly enhance and expand Shaw’s ClearTouch family of residential carpet products. ClearTouch products feature excellent appearance retention properties, exceptional softness and Shaw’s Texturegard texture retention warranty, noted David Wilkerson, corporate director of sustainability and product stewardship. “Consumers are
seeking environmentally friendly products for their home at an increasing pace, and ClearTouch products deliver performance and style along with the environmental advantage of certified 25% recycled content,” he said.
Producing polyester yarn with recycled content through Clear Path consumes less energy than extruding a completely virgin product, he noted. By the end of the first phase of the project ramp-up, the operation can consume up to 160 million pounds of PET bottles, which will save over 550,000 cubic yards of landfill space each year.
“We’re keeping these PET bottles out of landfills and converting them into a much higher value product,” Wilkerson said. “While it’s true there’s currently no commercially viable method for recycling PET carpet fiber, we are continuing to work on this project and believe within a few years a recycling option will be a distinct possibility.”
In the meantime, he explained used PET carpets will be one of the preferred “fuels” at Shaw’s Re2E alternative energy plant that will open in October (FCNews, July 6/13, 2009).
The energy savings related to the operation will save approximately 1.4 trillion BTUs of energy annually, which is equal to the amount of primary energy necessary to power over 10,000 U.S. homes per year, according to Energy Information Administration data.
“This energy savings will contribute to Shaw’s aggressive 25% energy intensity reduction pledge by 2018 (FCNews, June 1/8, 2009),” Wilkerson concluded.
Clear Path currently maintains approximately 20 million pounds of inventory, which will be processed into RPET for use by Shaw and DAK.
For more, call 800.441.7429.