French President Emmanuel Macron and Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa jointly announced Eastman's plan to invest up to one billion dollars 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 would 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. This multi-phase project includes units that would 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 centre for molecular recycling that would enable France to sustain a leadership role in the circular economy. This innovation centre would advance alternative recycling methods and applications to curb plastic waste incineration and leave fossil feedstock in the ground. The plant and innovation centre would 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.
Eastman's project has also garnered support from an impressive roster of global brands who 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.
"The investment in France is a significant step forward in Eastman's strategy to accelerate a circular economy globally. Eastman is proud to partner with the French government to actively contribute to France's and the EU's bold commitments. France has demonstrated their commitment toward a sustainable future and Eastman has set similar, ambitious carbon and circular economy goals. The plan to build the world's largest plastics recycling facility in France is an important part of our overall circular economy strategy", Costa said.