The Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola) will open a new recycling plant in Spartanburg county, South Carolina on January 14, 2009. This plant will produce around 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic for reuse per year that is equal to around 2 billion 20-ounce plastic Coke bottles. This plant is likely to remove one million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over next 10 years, equivalent of removing 215,000 cars from the road.

The company has invested $60 million in September 2007 as part of its long-term initiative to have 100% of its plastic bottles to be recycled or reused.

The project is in partnership with United Resource Recovery Corp. and includes the new facility on a 30-acre site as well as a recycling center that collects used beverage containers.

We have set an ambitious goal to recycle all the plastic bottles we use in the U.S. market, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, said in a statement. Our investments in recycling infrastructure coupled with our work on sustainable package design will help us reach this target.

The plant is expected to create about 100 jobs over the next five years for Spartanburg county and has the additional benefit of making the county a centerpiece for many of Coca-Cola’s global recycling initiatives.

The facility will host a satellite media tour that will be broadcast to news outlets all over the world on January 15, 2009. Kate Krebs, director of sustainable resources for The Climate Group and Scott Vitters, director of sustainable packaging for Coca-Cola, will talk about how to recycle and why it’s important.

Coca-Cola has staked a clear leadership position in its approach to suitable packaging, said Krebs. The new Spartanburg plant represents an end-to-end recycling model that is world-class and that I hope other industries will follow.