PureCycle to build Korean plant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Will partner with SK geo centric on first polypropylene recycling plant in Asia

SK geo centric (SKGC) and PureCycle Technologies, Inc., an advanced recycling company revolutionizing plastic waste, signed a non-binding head of agreement to open Asia’s first recycled polypropylene (PP) plant in Ulsan, South Korea.

The facility is expected to have an annual capacity of 60,000 tons and an expected completion at the end of 2024.

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Na Kyung-soo, president and CEO of SK geo centric, visited PureCycle’s Feedstock Evaluation Unit, an R&D facility and demonstration plant in Ironton in November 2021 to evaluate its solvent extraction technology and discuss collaboration plans to deepen the relationship.

On Jan. 6 at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, SKGC and PureCycle agreed to key terms that will be included in the joint venture agreement to be negotiated between the two companies.

“SK Geo centric will play a major role in SK Innovation’s ‘Carbon to Green strategy,’ along with the battery business,” said Kim Jun, vice chairman and CEO of SK innovation. “We will continue to innovate existing business models and further expand cooperation with global companies with eco-friendly technologies to build a pure plastic environment.”

Mike Otworth, CEO of PureCycle, CEO, said he was thrilled PureCycle and SKGC are progressing toward opening a recycling facility in Ulsan over the next three years.

“Combining SK geo centric’s expertise and knowledge of the industry in South Korea with PureCycle’s patented technology that transforms plastic waste into a renewable resource, we can work toward tackling the plastic waste crisis that has impacted every corner of the world,” Otworth said.

SK geo centric is a global leader in PP production and has deep technological capabilities, and wide marketing reach in Asia. The partnership between the two companies will combine SKGC’s strengths with PureCycle’s purification technology to supply a premium recycled plastic resin to the growing market. PureCycle will leverage its plant module construction processes and partnerships to accelerate the building of the plant in South Korea.

PureCycle is the world’s only company that has proprietary technology to separate contaminants, odors and colors from PP plastic waste to transform it into ultra-pure recycled (UPR) plastic. This technology can be used for commercial production and to recycle contaminated food storage containers, colored detergent bottles and automotive interior plastic–which are mostly incinerated because they are difficult to recycle–into UPR.

PP is a plastic used widely in everything from consumer products and food packaging to automotive interior materials.