SK Chemicals Advances Circular Recycling in North America

SK chemicals at Chinaplas 2024

(Credit: SK chemicals)

by | May 14, 2024

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Following the prominent Chinaplas last month, SK Chemicals is poised to broaden its influence in the global market by pioneering circular recycling technologies in North America. The North American Plastics Exhibition (NPE), organized by the American Plastics Association, is a pivotal event that spans all industries, from automotive to construction and medical. Recognized as the largest plastics trade fair in the Americas, NPE is held triennially and is esteemed as one of the top three global plastic exhibitions, alongside Chinaplas and Germany’s K Trade Fair. This event is dedicated to fostering innovation and sustainability in the plastics sector.

Recent initiatives in North America mirror a worldwide movement towards more robust plastic recycling policies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has rolled out the country’s inaugural National Recycling Strategy, aiming for a 50% recycling rate by 2030. States like Illinois and California are also advancing significant legislation, such as the Plastic Recycling Modernization Act and the Producer Responsibility Plastic Recycling, to bolster recycling efforts.

SK Chemicals’ Innovations in Recycled Materials

At the forefront of these initiatives, SK Chemicals showcased a variety of sustainable materials at NPE, utilizing advanced circular recycling technology. Products like ECOTRIA CR, a high-function recycled copolyester derived from chemical recycling, and SKYPET CR, a PET material, along with ECO, a copolyester recyclable as PET, and ECOTRIA CLARO, were introduced, drawing significant attention from attendees.

Circular recycling, SK Chemicals’ proprietary chemical recycling method, stands out by chemically breaking down plastic waste to the molecular level, allowing infinite recycling without compromising product quality, such as transparency. The company also displayed various global brand products incorporating ECOTRIA CR, from cosmetic containers to home appliances and everyday items, demonstrating these recycled materials’ practical application and commercial success.

Jeong Sang-min, head of marketing and operations at SK Chemicals, emphasized that the successful showcase of products made from recycled materials at both Chinaplas and NPE has helped dispel myths about the limitations of recycled plastics in terms of physical properties and quality. He highlighted the company’s commitment to continue differentiating itself through active marketing and commercialization of recycled materials.

Future Strategies and North American Market Prospects

SK Chemicals presented other innovative materials such as Ecotrion, a biomaterial derived from industrial starch, and Ecozen, a heat-resistant copolyester blended with biomass components like corn. These materials are utilized in various applications, including spandex, artificial leather, and urethane elastic materials. They are also used in packaging for cosmetics and food, showcasing a range of eco-friendly solutions for the North American market.

Kim Eung-soo, head of SK Chemicals’ Green Materials Business Division, noted that North America is a crucial market poised for an average annual growth of 7.9% by 2030. Through close collaboration with brand owners and customers, SK Chemicals is hoping to be a leader in this burgeoning market.

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