Eastman to invest $1bn in plastics recycling facility in France

The material-to-material molecular recycling plant would process up to 160,000 metric tonnes annually of hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is currently being incinerated

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Eastman Chemical Company has announced plans to invest up to $ 1billion (£0.74bn) to build what it claims will be the world’s largest molecular plastics recycling facility in France.

The material-to-material molecular recycling plant would use the company’s polyester renewal technology to process up to 160,000 metric tonnes annually of hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is currently being incinerated.

That’s enough plastic waste to fill Stade de France national football stadium 2.5 times a year.

It would also create “virgin-quality” material with a significant lower carbon footprint, with Eastman estimating materials to be produced with greenhouse gas emissions up to 80% less than traditional methods.

Eastman also plans to establish an innovation centre, which would advance alternative recycling methods and applications to curb plastic waste incineration.

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

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 excited to welcome a company that has a 100-year history of innovation at a global scale and more than 30 years of molecular recycling experience.”

Both the plant and innovation centre are expected to be operational by 2025, whilst creating 350 direct jobs and leading to an additional 1,500 indirect jobs in recycling, energy and infrastructure.

Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa added: “The plan to build the world’s largest plastics recycling facility in France is an important part of our overall circular economy strategy.

“Today’s announcement is a key milestone towards our commitment and we expect to achieve additional milestones in the coming months, including agreements related to securing the plastic waste that will be raw material supply, securing government incentives and the site location decision.”

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