The Korea Herald


SK Geocentric readies world’s 1st plastic recycling complex

Ulsan Advanced Recycling Cluster to begin operations in 2026

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : March 10, 2023 - 13:26

    • Link copied

Dustin Olsen, CEO of Purecycle Technologies (SK Geocentric) Dustin Olsen, CEO of Purecycle Technologies (SK Geocentric)

SK Geocentric, a chemicals unit under South Korean conglomerate SK Group, said Friday it has completed technological preparations for the Ulsan Advanced Recycling Cluster with its US partner, Purecycle Technologies.

The Ulsan Advanced Recycling Cluster is expected to be the world’s first plastic recycling complex, according to SK Geocentric. The companies aim to complete construction of the recycling complex in 2025.

Researchers and engineers at the South Korean chemicals firm conducted technological consultations with Purecycle Technologies’ workers at the US company’s commercial plastic recycling plant in Ohio for about two months beginning in January. According to the officials, the two sides ran various tests to optimize the recycling process for plastic waste in Korea.

"The two companies have been working together for the growth of the Asian region for the past two years, and this will be another turning point to apply recycling technology in Korea,” said Dustin Olsen, CEO of Purecycle Technologies.

Purecycle Technologies is a chemical recycling company that utilizes recycling technology with solvents to extract ultrapure recycled polypropylene from plastic waste by removing pollutants, odors and colors. SK Geocentric and Purecycle Technologies agreed to establish a joint venture to build the Ulsan recycling site in October 2022.

The companies plan to begin construction of Ulsan Advanced Recycling Cluster this year with the goal to fully begin operations in 2026.

“Through this cooperation, the two companies have enhanced their understanding of technology and optimized the recycling process plan to suit the nature of plastic waste in Korea," said Kim Jong-hwa, vice president and chief strategy officer of SK Geocentric. "We will successfully build the Ulsan ARC by strengthening the partnership between the two companies to set up a circular economy."