SK Geo Centric, a petrochemical unit of SK Innovation [096770:KS], has invested KRW68bn (USD55m) in US plastic waste recycling firm PureCycle Technologies, as reported by the Korea Economic Daily on March 15. PureCycle has a specialized proprietary technology to recycle Polypropylene (PP), a plastic material used in electronics, food containers, and other daily necessities. The proprietary technology could raise the recycling rate of PP and reduce the incineration or landfilling of plastics. The two companies have agreed in January to set up a joint venture (JV) in South Korea and build a recycling plant for plastic waste by the end of 2024, which will have a disposal capacity of 64,000 tons per year.
SK Geo Centric seeks to be a leader in South Korea’s plastic disposal sector and transform itself into an eco-friendly chemical producer. Last year, the company announced an investment of USD522.6m to build the country’s largest plastic waste recycling factory in Ulsan by 2025, which can process 184,000 tons of litter per year, equivalent to 60% of South Korea’s total plastic waste volume. From the plastic waste, the company extracts raw materials such as naphtha, a key feedstock to produce petrochemicals in its Ulsan complex. Eyeing the Asian market, SK Geo Centric plans to construct three additional factories in the region and raise its total waste recycling capacity to 400,000 tons a year in 2030. Citing SK Geo Centric CEO Na Kyung-soo, the company will promote a virtuous cycle of plastic waste resources, thereby fulfilling its obligations on environment, social, and governance (ESG).