Technological watch

SK Global Chemical and PureCycle Sign MoU to Form Polypropylene Recycling JV Plant

SK Global Chemical has signed an MoU with PureCycle Technologies to establish a joint venture (JV). PureCycle recycles and has solved the challenges faced in its recycling with a solvent extraction technology, injecting solvent into the plastic waste to dissolve and only extract the PP. This enables the recycling of contaminated food containers, colored plastics, and car interior materials like dashboards made of composite materials.
JV Plant for PP Recycling and Processing
SK Global Chemical plans to establish a JV with PureCycle and start the JV plant’s construction in South Korea at the end of 2022 and be ready for commercial operation by 2025. According to this plan, the JV plant will process about 50,000 tons of PP plastic waste annually to obtain PP, which was previously only produced through chemical processes, from the waste. In addition, SK Global Chemical plans for the JV to expand the processing capability of the plant.
The extracted through this process will be re-used for manufacturing various PP products. This creates a virtuous cycle of plastic by utilizing plastic waste for plastic manufacturing and prevents further environmental pollution.
Manufacturing Automobile Parts Using Recycled PP
SK Global Chemical has its own technological competitiveness, particularly in producing high-value-added materials such as high-stiffness PP, which is widely used as lightweight car interior material. Accordingly, the company expects that recycled PP obtained through this partnership with PureCycle will be used to manufacture automobile parts later. SK Global Chemical believes making products with eco-friendly materials will secure higher competitiveness in the future as it will comply with the growingly strict environmental regulations.
In addition to pyrolysis technology that obtains raw materials such as naphtha by applying heat to waste vinyl, and depolymerization technology that chemically decomposes and and polyester fiber, this partnership with PureCycle will bring the last piece of the puzzle for SK Global Chemical to complete its “three major advanced recycling technologies”.
Advanced recycling significantly improves environmental problems by recycling plastic waste that had previously been merely incinerated or landfilled. These technologies overcome the limitations of physical recycling, which cannot recycle plastic waste if it is mixed with contaminated or colored plastic because it is only a method of crushing plastic waste.
Future Vision of the Company
SK Global Chemical announced its future vision, the company declared that it would use this technology to recycle plastic waste that exceeds the total amount of plastic it produces in a year. One of the company’s actions to reach this target is to invest about KRW 600 billion by 2025 to build a pyrolysis and depolymerization plant on a site of approximately 160,000 square meters in Ulsan Mipo National Industrial Complex. Once completed, this will be biggest plastic waste recycling project in South Korea.
Mike Otworth, CEO of PureCycle, said, “Partnering with the leading recycling waste company in South Korea is a major milestone for PureCycle. We are bringing together a premier team of experts to achieve our goal of recycling one billion pounds of polypropylene waste by 2025. The sad reality is that 91% of plastic waste is not recycled. That is exactly why our work with SK Global Chemical will be incredibly important to reducing plastic waste and helping society view plastic as an infinitely sustainable material.”

CEO of SK Global Chemical Na Kyung-soo said, “The partnership with PureCycle shows our deep commitment to creating a circular economy for plastics and shows that we can collaborate globally to solve plastic waste problem. We are focused on leading circular systems for plastics with top-notch technology, and that is why PureCycle is the perfect partner for us to continue this focus and amplify our goals.” “We will create a virtuous cycle of plastic to break new ground as a green chemical company”.

Source: SK Global Chemical

Publication date: 16/08/2021

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This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31