The Korea Herald


SK geo centric to build S. Korea's first plastic recycling plant in France

By Kim So-yeon

Published : Feb. 17, 2023 - 15:05

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SK geo centric CEO Na Kyung-soo (Herald DB) SK geo centric CEO Na Kyung-soo (Herald DB)

SK geo centric, a chemical business subsidiary of SK Innovation, announced Friday it will build a plastic recycling plant jointly with French partners in Saint-Avold, northeastern France.

The SK subsidiary said it has selected the plant site together with Suez, a French water and waste management company, and Loop Industries, a Canadian plastic recycling technology company.

"We are happy to achieve a meaningful milestone in selecting a site for our first plastic recycling plant in Europe," said SK geo centric CEO, Na Kyung-soo.

"We will share the company’s extensive experience in operating petrochemical processes to lead the construction of a sustainable circular economy in Europe."

The three companies plan to invest about 450 million euros ($478 million) to start the construction of the plant in early 2025. When the plant is completed in 2027, it will have the capacity to supply about 70,000 tons of recycled plastic annually, SK geo centric said.

The three companies signed a business agreement to establish the plastic recycling joint venture in June.

Located in the center of a densely populated area in northeastern France, Saint-Avold has the best environment to build recycling plants based on efficient industrial infrastructure such as roads and railways, the company said.

This international project is supported by the French Ministries of Industry and Ecology, the Grand Est region and the Saint-Avold Synergy region community. The project will make use of SK geo centric’s experience in petrochemical processes, Suez’s expertise in the resource management area and Loop’s innovative depolymerization technology, the company said.

According to SK geo centric, low-value plastic waste would be recycled into the highest purity, virgin-quality plastic by applying Loop’s technology to the factory recycling facilities.

The feed stocks from waste plastic will be collected, sorted and prepared by Suez, having ample knowledge of the European plastics market and its partnerships with industrial players.

Through the establishment of the plant, SK geo centric would be able to contribute to solving the global plastic problem by responding to the growing demand for recycled plastic due to European environmental regulations, the company said.

By leveraging low-value waste plastic that is currently destined for landfill or incineration, the envisioned facility would offer a solution to the global plastic waste challenge.

The new plant would also add new jobs for the region, the company added.