This Is Where 3 Billion Plastic Bottles Get Turned Into Gold

The gold of renewable plastics, anyway.

Recycling Turns Plastic Bottles Into... Plastic Bottles

It's just another day at the office, with 300,000 pounds of plastic bottles arriving in bales.  

We're at CarbonLite Industries, in Riverside, Calif., which specializes in recycling a type of plastic called PET that you find in most soda and water bottles. CarbonLite, which recycles 3 billion bottles a year, is one of only a handful of facilities in the U.S. that turn the things back into food-grade plastic for new bottles. 

  • Watch the full video, the first in Bloomberg's Unsolvable series.

When you throw a plastic water bottle into a recycling bin, it's less likely to become another bottle than it is to end up being made into a product such as carpeting or teddy bear stuffing. Since those secondary materials are harder to collect and recycle, that can mean the end of a plastic’s recyclable life. Watch CarbonLite solve that problem. 

That leaves cost. And with prices down for petroleum, and the plastics derived from it, that's a tough one.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.