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US-based Eastman said he plans to invest up to $1 billion to build what he calls the world’s largest molecular plastics recycling facility in France. An announcement is made jointly by French President Emmanuel Macron and Eastman Chairman and CEO Mark Costa.

Calling the new facility a “material-to-material molecular recycling,” Eastman says it will use its “polyester renewal technology” to recycle up to 160,000 metric tons per year of plastic waste that it characterizes as difficult materials. to recycle “which are currently incinerated.”

The project will include the installation of units that will prepare mixed plastic waste for processing, a methanolysis unit to depolymerize the waste and polymer lines to create “a variety of premium materials for specialist applications, from packaging and textiles,” according to Eastman.

Eastman, based in Tennessee, which is building a similar but smaller-scale plant in that state, also plans to create “an innovation center for molecular recycling that would allow France to maintain a leading role in the circular economy. “.

The factory and innovation center are expected to be operational by 2025, the company says. Eastman says the project has “won the backing of an impressive list of global brands who share its commitment to solving the global problem of plastic waste and see molecular recycling as an essential tool in achieving circularity.” The company cites LVMH Beauty, Estée Lauder, Clarins, Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal and Danone as having signed letters of intent for multi-year supply agreements from the planned facility in France.

Eastman says its polyester renewal technology accepts hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is “broken down into molecular building blocks and then reassembled into a premium material with no compromise in performance.”

“Accelerating the transition to a circular economy is one of the main challenges for the years to come,” says Barbara Pompili, French Minister for Ecological Transition. “Eastman’s substantial investment in France demonstrates our country’s drive to embrace innovative technologies that will help us achieve our ecological and economic ambitions, by revolutionizing our country’s plastics recycling capabilities.”

Adds Pompili, “France has always been at the forefront of this journey, and together with Eastman, is giving itself the means to achieve its ambitious plastics recycling targets set for 2025. We are very happy to welcome a company that has 100 years history of innovation on a global scale and more than 30 years of experience in molecular recycling.

Comments Eastman CEO Costa, “The investment in France is a significant step forward in Eastman’s strategy to accelerate a circular economy globally. Eastman is proud to partner with the French government to actively contribute to bold French and EU commitments.

He continues, “We look forward to working together for the long term and delivering the innovations needed to recycle plastic waste and protect our planet for future generations. The project to build the world’s largest plastics recycling plant in France is an important part of our overall circular economy strategy.

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