LG Chem partners with domestic startup for complete recycling of plastic cosmetic containers

By Lim Chang-won Posted : March 23, 2021, 12:39 Updated : March 23, 2021, 12:39

[Courtesy of LG Chem]

SEOUL -- LG Chem, a major chemical company in South Korea, partnered with Innerbottle, a domestic startup, to create a "plastic eco-platform that will enable the complete recycling of plastic cosmetic containers. They will apply the platform to cosmetic containers in the second half of this year before expanding its application to food and medicine containers.

LG Chem aims to create what it called an "unprecedented" ESG business model covering the entire eco-cycle from plastic production, collection after use, and recycling. Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) is a trendy corporate operation method that focuses on the use of green energy and environmentally-friendly management.

"It is meaningful that a global conglomerate and a startup are working together to create the world's first plastic resource circulation platform which can potentially be market pioneers within the global ESG mega-trend," LG Chem’s petrochemical global business development head Hur Sung-woo said in a statement on March 23.

Using LG Chem's eco-friendly plastic materials, Innerbottle will produce cosmetic containers. Used containers will be collected through a dedicated logistics system for recycling. Plastic resources can be quickly and completely recycled 100 percent. The two companies would create a distribution network and logistics collection system that can precisely track the path from container production to collection.

Innerbottle, which offers sustainable eco-friendly packaging solutions, has produced a cosmetic container with an embedded balloon-shaped silicon pouch inside a transparent plastic bottle. Due to the elasticity of the silicon pouch, cosmetic contents can be used without leaving any residues.

Cosmetic containers are difficult to recycle since they typically use composite plastics to prevent the deterioration of contents. Even if a recyclable single-material is used, recycling is not easy due to the residue left in the containers. LG Chem will provide eco-friendly plastic materials to Innerbottle as a replacement for composite plastics.

The two companies would conduct joint research to replace Innerbottle’s silicon pouch with LG Chem’s nitrile butadiene latex (NB Latex ) which has higher elasticity and higher oxygen blocking than silicon pouches. NB Latex can achieve similar results with a smaller amount, making it more cost-competitive and advantageous in preventing deterioration.

LG Chem thinks the platform can reduce the production cost of recycled plastic due to the elimination of additional disposal, sorting, and cleaning procedures, along with a carbon-reduction effect. More than 15 billion bottles of cosmetic plastic containers are thrown away every year around the world. LG Chem said that if just 10 percent of bottles are recycled, it is expected to reduce 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year.

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