DAK Americas PET resin pellets go into water bottles, soft drink bottles and more

May 29, 2015

Next time you pick up a plastic container of your favorite soft drink, water, peanut butter or shampoo, consider this: the material used to make those containers could have likely started out as PET resin pellets produced in Hancock County.

DAK Americas, which operates a production facility in Port Bienville Industrial Park, is North America's largest producer of PET resin, the material that goes into making many containers for food, beverages and household products.

DAK Americas can't identify specific products because of confidentiality agreements but it's safe to say that everyone touches a product made with PET resin every day.

"It's any kind of container, clear or colored, that has the recycle triangle symbol with 1 in the middle and the word PETE underneath it," said spokesman Ricky Lane.

PET resin is used for countless consumer products because it's so versatile. Soft drink makers, for example, can turn it into any shape, color or texture bottle they want for their brands. The containers also are recyclable, a huge bonus for the manufacturers and the environment, Lane said. "It can be recycled many times over into many uses and in some cases back into bottles again."

PET resin is used in several categories, led by carbonated soft drink bottles. "If a carbonated beverage  bottle is plastic, it's almost 100 percent made from PET resin."

The second largest segment is the bottled water market, which continues to grow, Lane said, thanks to the strong sales of fortified, flavored water and energy drinks.

PET resin also goes into custom containers for food such as peanut butter, mayonnaise and spices, health and beauty products such as mouthwash, shampoo and cough medicine, and household cleaners.

DAK produces the PET resin in cylindrical strands of clear molten spaghetti like polymer which are cut into small pellets. These pellets are further treated under pressure and heat to become further crystallized into white pellets. 

The white pellets become clear when reheated, melted and poured into heated molds, forming preforms (test tube-like containers with threaded tops) which are then blown into bottles that are filled with various products. Rail cars are used to bring in raw materials to DAK and to haul out the pellets to customers.

The Pearl River Plant operates on a continuous basis to meet demand. The plant, which has 150 employees, can produce 950 million pounds of PET resin a year. DAK acquired the former Wellman Inc. site in 2011.

DAK Americas has headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. In addition to the Pearl River Plant, DAK plants in Columbia and Charleston, S.C., and Fayetteville, N.C., also produce PET.



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