Unifi is stepping up its recycled product game.
The yarn producer on Wednesday opened its Repreve bottle processing center in Reidsville, North Carolina, which will expand production capabilities, add flexibility and support volume growth for the business. Repreve is Unifi’s flagship brand, a recycled product line created from materials like plastic water bottles. The new processing center’s $28 million investment will also contribute 87 jobs to the local vicinity, including engineering and management positions.
“This expansion of Unifi’s Repreve business will bring jobs to our state and furthers North Carolina’s leadership in high-tech manufacturing,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said. “I am proud that our efforts to improve North Carolina’s business climate, invest in infrastructure and encourage building reuse have helped companies like Unifi grow and succeed.”
Located at Unifi’s facilities in Reidsville, the new center offers more than 150,000 square feet of space for advanced operation and the capacity to produce 75 million pounds of clean bottle flake each year.
Before processing, Unifi will purchase baled PET bottles from eastern U.S. materials recovery facilities and transport them to the processing center. Undesirable materials are then sorted and filtered to determine which PET bottles will move on to manufacturing. Those selected have their labels and caps removed, before being chopped into flake, cleaned, dried and packaged for Unifi’s Repreve division or sent off for other consumer packaging applications.
“The Repreve Bottle Processing Center uses custom-designed, cutting-edge technology and provides increased flexibility that will allow us to better serve our customers, as well as create a new channel of revenue,” Unifi president Tom Caudle said. “We are also proud to support manufacturing in North Carolina and to add new jobs in our communities.”