In the year's since Eastman chemical company announced a breakthrough innovation to address the world’s plastic waste problem in April of 2019, they have continued to expand on their notion of a circular recycling program.
Kingsport and around the world
Eastman’s strategy for growth through innovation is built upon their commitment to sustainability. As they continue to develop and enhance their efforts towarda circular econommy they've garnered the support of governments, corporations, and communities around the world.The company's advanced circular recycling technology breaks polyester waste that can't be recycled using traditional methods, into new polyester-based polymers, delivering a true circular solution. The company's second innovation is called carbon renewal technology (CRT). CRT can recycle some of the most complex plastic waste, including mixed plastics, which otherwise can't be recycled using conventional recycling technologies. CRT allows materials like flexible packaging and plastic films to be recycled too - keeping them out of the landfills and incenerators.
Kingsport molecular recycling plant
Eastman's Mark Costa and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee made in the announcement in January 2021, of the plans to build one of the world's largest plastic-to-plastic molecular recycling facilities in Kingsport. Construction was to begin last year and be mechanically finished by the end of 2022. Recent attempts to determine the status of the build have not been returned as of press time. Using methanolysis, the facility will convert polyester waste into durable products. The company will invest roughly $250 million in the facility. The recycling plant supports the Eastman commitment to fight global waste and to mitigate the challenges of climate change.
"Eastman has been a leader in the materials sector for over 100 years and continues to be a valued partner to our state. I'd like to thank the company for investing in Kingsport and its highly skilled workforce, and for focusing on innovative technology that enhances the quality of life for people not just in Tennessee, but around the world." - Bill Lee, Tennessee Governor
Recycling around the world
On March 30, Eastman announced they had has entered an exclusive negotiation with Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine as the preferred location of a molecular recycling facility to be built in France. The move in a significant step in the company's plan to invest $1 billion to build the world's largest material-to-material molecular recyling plant in France. The facility would recycle 160,000 tons of polyester waste annually.Eastman Board Chair and CEO, Mark Costa and President Emmanuel Macron, of France, announced the plan to build the plant in January. Eastman selected the site in Normandy as it offers adequate proximity to the materials to recycle, room to build and grow, and the infrastructure to support the operation. Eastman expects the facility to be operational by 2025.
Eastman's proven polyester renewal technology (PRT) is complementary to mechanical recycling and provides true circularity for hard-to-recycle plastic waste. It removes what would be waste in our linear economy of today. The material is typically incenerated because it can't be mechanically recycled and must be downcycled.PRT creates an infinite value from base polyester materials, keeping them in production long after their first iteration. The technology has a high-efficient polyester yield of 93 percent. Using the renewable energy sources in Normandy, Eastman will be able to transform waste in to first-quaity polyesters with up to 80 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional production methods.
Founded in 1920, Eastman is a global specialty materials company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in a material way, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. The company's innovation-driven growth model takes advantage of world-class technology platforms, deep customer engagement, and differentiated application development to grow its leading positions in attractive end markets such as transportation, building and construction, and consumables. As a globally inclusive and diverse company, Eastman employs approximately 14,000 people around the world and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The company had 2021 revenues of approximately $10.5 billion and is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA.