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Eastman Planning $1 Billion Plastics Recycling Facility in France
January 18, 2022

Specialty chemicals company Eastman announced this week that it will invest $1 billion in a material-to-material molecular recycling facility in France, that would use Eastman's polyester renewal technology to recycle up to 160,000 mt/yr of hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is currently being incinerated.

Eastman's polyester renewal technology provides circularity for hard-to-recycle plastic waste that remains in a linear economy. The material is typically incinerated because it either cannot be mechanically recycled or must be downcycled with existing technology. With the efficiencies and the renewable energy sources available in France, Eastman said materials can be produced with greenhouse gas emissions up to 80% less than traditional methods.

Eastman added that the multi-phase project includes units that would prepare mixed plastic waste for processing, a methanolysis unit to depolymerize the waste, and polymer lines to create a variety of materials for specialty, packaging, and textile applications. The company also plans to establish an innovation center for molecular recycling in France that would advance alternative recycling methods and applications to curb plastic waste incineration and leave fossil feedstock in the ground.

The plant and innovation center are expected to be in operation by 2025, with approximately 350 jobs, leading to an additional 1,500 indirect jobs in recycling, energy, and infrastructure.

Eastman CEO Mark Costa not only was the recycling facility part of its overall circular economy strategy, but in the coming months the company expects to have agreements in place to secure the plastic waste that will be raw material supply along with securing government incentives, and the site location decision.

By Brian Balboa for The Plastic Exchange.

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