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The Coca-Cola Co has ceased operations at a major PET recycling plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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The facility was opened in January 2009 as a joint-venture between the soft drinks giant and NURRC (National United Resource Recovery Corporation). As part of the agreement, Coca-Cola invested US$50m in the venture to expand the existing pilot plant. It was hailed by the two firms as the world's largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant.

However, while reports have suggested the plant has shut down with the loss of around 50 jobs, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola told just-drinks today (21 April) that operations have only been "curtailed during restructuring", while new equipment is being installed.

"Due to changes in the business environment, NURRC is restructuring operations at its Spartanburg recycling facility," the spokesperson said. "The facility is not shut down.

"As an investor in NURRC, Coca-Cola is working with URRC, the managing partner, to determine the best next steps," the spokesperson added. "While we cannot discuss specifics, we can assure you this will not impact Coca-Cola's commitment to recovering, recycling and reusing our packaging and to supporting the recycling industry."

According to Plastic News, Coca-Cola declined to fund the next phase of the expansion, which is said to cost around $15m. As a result, the NURRC was left without the funds required to continue operations.

Coca-Cola declined to comment on any further details.


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