Canadian Plastics

Eastman to build massive molecular recycling plant in Tennessee

The plant, to be built in Kingsport and be mechanically complete by the end of 2022, will use methanolysis to convert polyester waste that often ends up in landfills and waterways into durable products.

February 1, 2021   Canadian Plastics

Eastman Chemical Co. has announced plans to build what’s being described as one of the world’s largest plastics-to-plastics molecular recycling facilities as its site in Kingsport, Tenn.

The plant will use methanolysis to convert polyester waste that often ends up in landfills and waterways into durable products, creating an optimized circular economy, Eastman officials said in a Jan. 29 news release.

The Kingsport-based company will invest approximately US$250 million in the facility over the next two years. The new facility is expected to be mechanically complete by the end of 2022.

Utilizing Eastman’s polyester renewal technology, the new facility will use over 100,000 metric tons of plastic waste that cannot be recycled by current mechanical methods to produce premium, high-quality specialty plastics made with recycled content. “This process of using plastic waste as the main feedstock is a true material-to-material solution and will not only reduce [our] use of fossil feedstocks, but also reduce [our] greenhouse gas emissions by 20-30 per cent relative to fossil feedstocks,” Eastman said.

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Eastman was one of the pioneers in developing methanolysis technology at commercial scale and has more than three decades of expertise in this innovative recycling process.

The plant will contribute to the company achieving its ambitious sustainability commitments for addressing the plastic waste crisis, which includes recycling more than 500 million pounds of plastic waste annually by 2030 via molecular recycling technologies. Eastman has committed to recycling more than 250 million pounds of plastic waste annually by 2025.


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