French President Emmanuel Macron and Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa have jointly announced Eastman’s plan to invest up to $1 billion in a material-to-material molecular recycling facility in France. This facility would use Eastman’s polyester renewal technology to recycle up to 160,000 metric tonnes annually of hard-to-recycle plastic waste that is currently being incinerated.
The investment will recycle enough plastic waste annually to fill Stade de France national football stadium 2.5 times, while also creating virgin-quality material with a significantly lower carbon footprint. Eastman is the largest investor at this year’s “Choose France” event, which is focused on attracting foreign investment to France.
This multi-phase project includes units that will prepare mixed plastic waste for processing, a methanolysis unit to depolymerize the waste, and polymer lines to create a variety of first-quality materials for specialty, packaging, and textile applications. Eastman also plans to establish an innovation center for molecular recycling that will enable France to sustain a leadership role in the circular economy. This innovation center will advance alternative recycling methods and applications to curb plastic waste incineration and leave fossil feedstock in the ground. The plant and innovation center are be expected to be operational by 2025, creating employment for approximately 350 people and leading to an additional 1,500 indirect jobs in recycling, energy, and infrastructure.
|Emerging EU Sustainability Regulations for Packaging|
A circular economy is key to addressing the global plastic waste crisis and the climate crisis, which have both been at the center of attention in France and throughout Europe. This long-term partnership between France and Eastman will contribute to the EU achieving its sustainability goals, by reducing carbon emissions and enabling a circular economy. France has demonstrated tremendous leadership by recognizing the vital role of molecular recycling and supporting investments in innovation.
Eastman’s project has also garnered support from an impressive roster of global brands that share its commitment to solving the world's plastic waste problem and view molecular recycling as a pivotal tool for achieving circularity. LVMH Beauty, The Estée Lauder Companies, Clarins, Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal, and Danone are leading the way by signing letters of intent for multiyear supply agreements from this facility.