SEOUL -- In an effort to expand its global market reach, SK geo centric, a chemical company affiliated with South Korea's SK Group, has established plastic recycling partnerships with foreign companies including Haier, a leading home appliances and consumer electronics company in China, and PureCycle Technologies (PCT), a U.S.-based recycling service company with patented purification recycling technology.
SK geo centric (SKGC) said it has agreed with Haier to cooperate in developing recycled plastic products by securing polypropylene, the second-most widely produced commodity plastic after polyethylene, from waste home appliances. SKGC is in charge of quality management and technical support, while Haier will supply stable raw materials. They would gradually expand the scope of cooperation and strengthen their recycling business in China probably through the establishment of a joint venture.
In a separate deal on October 20, SKGC and PureCycle Technologies (PCT) will set up an equally-owned joint venture to operate a polypropylene recycling plant with an annual capacity of up to 60,000 tons in the southeastern industrial port of UIsan. The plant, which is to be completed by the second quarter of 2025, will turn contaminated plastic feedstock into ultra-pure recycled resin that can be infinitely reused and recycled.
SKGC is in charge of overall operations such as marketing and sales, while PCT will provide the patented technology that removes odors, colors and other contaminants from waste feedstock and transforms it into an ultra-pure recycled resin. SKGC secured exclusive sales rights in South Korea, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. "We will continue to contribute to making Korea play a key role in the rapidly growing global recycling industry," SKGC CEO Na Kyung-soo said in a statement.
SKGC has adopted a strategy to actively respond to changes in global markets by moving quickly to global environmental regulations. Tightened EU regulations boost the demand for high-quality recycled materials produced by plastic recycling plants in Europe. In June 2022, SKGC signed a deal with Suez SA, a Paris-based utility company, and Loop Industries, a Canadian plastic recycling company, to set up a chemical recyling joint venture plant in France with an annual producation capacity of 70,000 tons.
The accumulation of plastic waste has become a serious global problem. Chemical recycling breaks down and returns plastic to its pure, raw material form. It is an attractive way to address the explosive growth of plastic waste and disposal problems. SKGC has paid attention to eco-friendly technologies that can maintain the quality of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) even after being recycled repeatedly.
In July 2022, SKGC signed a strategic cooperation agreement with France's environmental service company Veolia to tap a rapidly growing plastic recycling market in the Asia-Pacific region. Their target is China, Japan and Southeast Asia where interest in plastic recycling is growing. The French company will support the construction of SKGC's recycling cluster in Ulsan.
SKGC has partnered with Brightmark LLC, a San Francisco-based company that provides clean energy generation solutions, to build a pyrolysis plant capable of recycling 200,000 tons of waste plastics annually in Ulsan for commercial operation in 2024.
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