Shaw Industries Group Inc. and DAK Americas LLC have created a new joint venture company, Clear Path Recycling LLC, to produce Recycled PET (RPET) from post-consumer PET, which is typically derived from recycled water and soda bottles. Both DAK, the second largest PET Resin and largest Polyester Staple Fiber producer in the Americas, and Shaw will use the RPET material primarily in the companies' polyester products. Shaw is the initial majority partner in Clear Path Recycling LLC.

“This joint venture investment represents an important strategic benefit to Shaw’s PET filament product lines,” said Vance Bell, Shaw's CEO. “The recycled content manufactured in this facility, combined with Shaw’s patent-pending BCF manufacturing process, will allow us to significantly enhance and expand our innovative Clear Touch BCF family of products." Bell adds that the venture will help the company realize its "25 percent energy intensity reduction pledge announced in 2008.”

Clear Path Recycling LLC will build a plant in Fayetteville, N.C. at DAK Americas' Cedar Creek site. The goal is to recycle over 280 million pounds of PET bottles annually, or about 5 billion bottles. The first phase of the new facility will process 160 million pounds of PET bottles; construction is expected to begin in mid 2009, with the plant operational in the first quarter of next year.

A second phase, planned for completion in 2012, will bring the operation to capacity at 280 million pounds, making Clear Path Recycling LLC the largest PET recycling operation in North America, Shaw said. An estimated 25 percent of the total recycled material produced will be sold through merchant sales.

“Clear Path Recycling is a major milestone in the sustainability initiatives of DAK Americas and reinforces DAK’s commitment to protect the environment for future generations,” said Hector Camberos, president and CEO of DAK Americas. “The joint venture allows DAK to deliver on the growing requirements of both its PET Resin and Polyester Staple Fiber customer base for products with recycled content."

Additionally, the joint venture is set to reduce the use of landfills and improve internal process economics for Shaw and DAK. By recycling 280 million pounds of PET bottles, Shaw estimates that over 1 million cubic yards per year of landfill space will be conserved. The energy savings will be approximately 2.5 trillion BTUs of energy annually, which is equal to the amount of primary energy necessary to power 18,000 U.S. homes per year, Shaw noted.

DAK currently operates a PET resin manufacturing facility on-site and has significant infrastructure in place that the new joint venture will utilize.  Approximately 100 new jobs will be created at the facility at the completion of both phases. 

Shaw uses RPET product in other areas of its business as well, most notably in its EcoLogix commercial carpet cushion system, a technology it introduced in 2003 that contains 88 percent post consumer recycled content.