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Tuesday December 6th, 2022
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Eastman plans to invest in plastics recycling plant in France

On January 19, Emmanuel Macron and Mark Costa, Chairman and CEO of Eastman, announced Eastman's intention to invest up to $1 billion in a molecular recycling plant for polyesters from household packaging and textile waste. The facility will use Eastman's polyester renewal technology to recycle up to 160,000 tons per year of hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is currently incinerated.

This investment would recycle enough plastic waste each year – materials are usually incinerated because they cannot be mechanically recycled or need to be decommissioned with existing technology – to fill the Stade de France 2.5 times.

According to Eastman, polyester renewal technology makes it possible to harness the potentially infinite value of materials by keeping them in production, life cycle after life cycle. Thanks to the inherent efficiencies of technology and renewable energy sources available in France, materials can be produced with greenhouse gas emissions up to 80% lower than traditional methods.

Eastman is, this year, the largest investor in the "Choose France" event, which aims to attract foreign investment to France.

This multi-phase project includes units that would prepare mixed plastic waste for processing, a methanololysis unit to depolymerize waste, and polymer lines to create a variety of premium materials for specialized, packaging and textile applications. Eastman, a global producer of specialty materials, also plans to create an innovation center for molecular recycling that would allow France to maintain a leading role in the circular economy. This innovation center would advance alternative recycling methods and applications to limit the incineration of plastic waste and leave fossil raw materials in the ground. The plant and innovation centre are expected to be operational by 2025, creating 350 jobs and resulting in an additional 1,500 indirect jobs in recycling, energy and infrastructure.

Eastman's project has also received support from global brands that share its commitment to solving the problem of plastic waste and see molecular recycling as an essential tool to achieve a circular economy. LVMH Beauty, The Estée Lauder Companies, Clarins, Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal and Danone have led the way by signing letters of intent for multi-year supply agreements from this facility.

"France (...) 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 global innovation and more than 30 years of experience in molecular recycling,"said Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition.

"Eastman's world-class project will enable France to position itself as a European leader in new technologies for the recycling and recovery of plastic waste. This investment is the result of the ambitious approach of industrial reconquest led by the government since 2017, which has allowed France to become in 2018 the most attractive country in Europe for industrial projects,added Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister Delegate for Industry. With this project, which is an important step for our sovereignty, we are giving ourselves the means to achieve our ambitions in terms of ecological transition while creating sustainable jobs in the manufacturing, infrastructure and energy sectors. We look forward to developing this relationship with Eastman. »

"The project to build the world's largest plastic recycling facility in France is an important part of our overall circular economy strategy,"costa said.

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