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PureCycle technology to head to South Korea

Florida-based polypropylene recycler signs onto joint venture with SK Global Chemical.

August 12, 2021

Orlando, Florida-based PureCycle Technologies Inc. says it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Korea-based SK Global Chemical to explore building and operating a facility in that nation to recycle polypropylene (PP) scrap into what it calls “ultra-pure polypropylene resin (UPRP).”

Comments Mike Otworth, CEO of PureCycle, “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 1 billion pounds [500,000 tons] of polypropylene [scrap] by 2025.”

Otworth calls it a “sad reality” that 91 percent of discarded plastic 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,” he comments.

“The partnership with PureCycle shows our deep commitment to creating a circular economy for plastics and shows that we can collaborate globally to solve the plastic waste problem,” remarks Na Kyung-soo, CEO of SK Global Chemical. “At SK Global Chemical, 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.”

The MOU with SK Global Chemical is designed to lead to the development of solvent-based recycling operations in the Asia Pacific region and to add to the number of locations beyond the United States. PureCycle says its technology creates UPRP that can be used in applications “spanning consumer goods, automotive, building and construction, and industrial uses.” The company says its process can accept a wide range of PP scrap with varying levels of contamination.

An initial PureCycle facility in Ironton, Ohio, is under construction and is expected to begin commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2022. The company announced in July a second location in Augusta, Georgia. PureCycle says it has presold more than 20 years of UPRP output from the Ohio plant.

The PureCycle Technologies LLC subsidiary of PureCycle holds a global license to commercialize solvent-based recycling technology developed by Procter & Gamble Co. The proprietary process removes color, odors and other contaminants from recycled feedstock, says the firm.

SK Global Chemical produces plastics and downstream automotive and packaging products and says it has committed to “establishing a plastics-based circular economy.”