SK Geo Centric ties up with Canadian and French companies to produce chemically recycled plastic

By Lim Chang-won Posted : June 16, 2022, 13:32 Updated : June 16, 2022, 13:32

[Courtesy of SK Geo Centric]

SEOUL -- In response to tightened regulations on waste plastics in Europe, SK Geo Centric, a chemical company affiliated with South Korea's SK Group, will set up a joint venture plant in France to produce about 70,000 tons of chemically recycled plastics annually in cooperation with Canadian and French companies. 

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.

SK Geo Centric (SKGC) said it has signed a deal in Paris with Suez SA, a France-based utility company, and Loop Industries, a Canadian plastic recycling company that owns patented technology to recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics. 

The three companies agreed to equally share the joint venture. SKGC said it is responsible for supervising and consulting operations of the recycling plant by utilizing know-how in operating its chemical plant. "This partnership will be a big step for SK Geo Centric to move beyond Asia and become a global eco-friendly chemical company," SKGC CEO Na Kyung-soo said in a statement on June 16.

The joint venture is part of SKGC's 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.

SKGC, a unit of SK Innovation, has paid attention to chemical decomposition, a key solution that can fundamentally solve plastic waste. The company particularly focuses on eco-friendly technologies that can maintain the quality of PET even after being recycled repeatedly.

In June 2021, SKGC made a $56.5 million equity investment to acquire a 10 percent stake in Loop and commercialize its sustainable PET plastic and polyester fiber manufacturing technology throughout Asia. Loop’s technology causes no degradation in quality or strength, and can be repeated infinitely. The two companies aim to process 400,000 tons of waste PET per year by building production facilities in Asia.

SKGC has alos acquired the functional polyolefin business of Arkema France, a specialty chemicals and advanced materials company. Functional polyolefin is a type of polymer used in the production of daily items. It is easy to mix with other plastics, making it possible to create plastic alloys.

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