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In The News: molecular plastics recycling and material traceability

SKI Chemicals invests in recycling tech, waste management, and more

Photo by Austin Park on Unsplash

♻️🧴💋Circular Plastic Packaging Tech

South Korea - based SK Chemicals has invested to not only develop molecular recycling capabilities but also in-house waste management capabilities and partnerships with, for instance, “a leading waste resource collection company in China.” SK Chemicals also promises data traceability through its material supply chain.


Molecular plastics recycling is not new. In fact, the technology was first developed around the same time as mechanical plastic recycling—over 50 years ago. And beauty makers are well aware of the potential value of this type of plastics recycling. In 2021, The Estée Lauder Companies teamed up with Eastman on a molecular recycling initiative with the intention of using only recycled and/or recyclable plastics in their luxury cosmetic product packaging by 2025. Eastman’s tech is called CRT or carbon renewal technology. And the company reportedly also has partnerships with Clarins, P&G, and L’Oréal.


SK Chemicals call their tech Circular Recycling Technology. And this month, the company announced plans to expand into the North American marketplace. SK Chemicals has already implemented what it describes as “closed loop” plastics recycling in the automotive sector, in electronics, and in fashion.


At this month’s NPE2024 event in Orlando, Florida, which is also known as The Plastics Show, SK Chemicals featured new materials such as SKYPET CR, ECO, ECOTRIA CLARO, ECOZEN, and SKYGREEN. The company also showcased cosmetic product packaging that had been commercialized using their technology at the event.


In a press release issued after both NPE and the plastics and rubber trade show called ChinaPlas2024, Jeong Sang-min, SK Chemicals’ Head of Marketing and Operations pointed out that with their molecular recycling tech, the company has been “able to resolve the preconceived notion that recycled plastic has limitations in physical properties and quality.” The company’s CLARO material, as an example, is said to be comparable to PET, and can be formed not only with thin molding but also with thick molding and injection molding processes.


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