Pactiv Corp., Lake Forest, Ill., started using recycled content in the production of its polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, clamshells last year.

That green initiative got a big boost in April when the company completed the $200 million acquisition of PWP Industries.

PWP’s assets included an 80,000-square-foot facility in Davisville, W.Va., capable of recycling 40 million pounds of PET per year.

Matt Gonring, Pactiv’s vice president and chief communications officer, said the company’s agriculture clamshells now include up to 75 percent recycled content, depending on production location and availability of recycled material.

Gonring said the West Virginia facility takes PET products, primarily water and soda bottles, and recycles them for use in the company’s manufacturing facilities in California, Georgia, Illinois and Mexico.

The company also buys recycled PET, he said.

“Clearly our customers and consumers are looking for more sustainable products,” Gonring said. “Eliminating carbon dioxide emissions is also important.”

Gonring said increasing the recycled content of the company’s PET clamshells has eliminated 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions compared to using raw materials. That, he said, is the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road each year.

Using recycled content also allows the company to use 90 percent less energy than using raw materials to produce its clamshells, and using recycled material also requires less water.

In addition to the PET recycling center, Pactiv acquired three amorphous polyethylene terephthalate, or APET, manufacturing facilities in the PWP deal.

PWP manufactures APET foodservice containers for bakeries, supermarkets and quick-service restaurants.

The company had 2009 sales of $140 million, Pactiv said in a news release announcing the completion of the transaction.

In other sustainability news, Pactiv has introduced EarthChoice, compostable products for the foodservice industry. The line of nearly 80 products includes cups, hinged-lid containers, plates and straws.