Unlike physical recycling that uses post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials by grinding collected polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and other materials into little pieces, chemical recycling breaks down and returns plastic to its pure, raw material form. It is an attractive way to address the explosive growth of plastic waste and disposal problems.
Using SK Chemicals' chemical cycle PET (CR PET), Huvis will make yarn products. Huvis has produced Ecoever, an eco-friendly fiber made from used PET bottles. In August 2020, the company opened a plant to produce a sheet-type PET foam material called "ECOPET," which has excellent thermal insulation and heat-resisting properties. ECOPET can be used as food containers because it is free of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
SK Chemicals, a unit of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group, will expand its portfolio of chemical recycle products. "Eco-friendly has become an important factor in consumers' purchasing decisions," said Chung Jae-joon, head of SK Chemicals' new business development division.
In May, SK Chemicals secured a 10 percent stake in Shuye, a Chinese company, to establish a stable base for the production of copolyesters using chemical recycling technology. Through the investment of 23 billion won ($20 million) in Shuye, SK Chemicals secured an off-take capacity of 20,000 tons of raw materials and exclusive rights in South Korea.
Copolyesters form when modifications are made to polyesters. They retain their strength, clarity, and other mechanical properties even when exposed to a variety of chemicals that typically affect other materials. Copolyester resins have proved to be effective in packaging applications, due to their toughness, versatility and chemical resistance.
SK Chemicals aims to launch its chemical recycling copolyester brand "ECOTRIA CR" that materializes functional characteristics unique to copolyesters, such as transparency, appearance, and chemical resistance while using just 50 percent of raw materials broken down through chemical recycling. It can be used for cosmetic containers, blister packaging, and decorative sheets that require high functionality and transparency.
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