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        LG Chem is committed to plastic recycling! Our efforts for resource circulation

        2024. 05. 17

        Plastic is dubbed ‘the greatest invention in the history of humanity,’ or ‘the gift from God.’ This plastic, despite the convenience it brought to our lives, has now turned into a nuisance. According to UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), of the seven billion tons of plastic waste generated globally so far, less than 10% has been recycled. We can say that there is an increasingly important need for plastic recycling. LG Chem is continuing their research efforts for plastic recycling, and has developed PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled) ABS and PCR PC by recycling waste plastic discarded by end consumers. Furthermore, the company intends to reinforce their eco-friendly materials business, aiming to expand its sales from $1.5 billion in 2022 to $6.2 billion by 2030. In order to utilize recycled materials, LG Chem has invested $221 million into constructing a pyrolysis oil plant that utilizes waste plastics within the Seongmun National Industrial Complex in Dangjin, Chungnam, Korea. Let’s peek at LG Chem’s preparations for a sustainable business centered on recycled plastics.

        Converting the troublesome marine waste into recycled plastic!

        Partnership with NETSPA for marine waste recycling

        In January 2023, LG Chem signed an MOU with NETSPA to establish a resource circulation system through marine waste recycling. With this partnership, LG Chem secured the raw material for their pyrolysis oil plant in Dangjin, which will begin operation in 2024. While NETSPA selects and processes plastic collected from marine wastes, LG Chem will reproduce it into a recycled plastic material.

        The current amount of marine waste is estimated at 75~199 million tons. However, a majority of this has been neglected or incinerated due to a high disposal cost and difficulty of handling it. LG Chem and NETSPA are looking forward to reducing marine wastes as the two partners utilize them as a raw material for recycled plastic. At the same time, it can hopefully reduce carbon emission by 3 times that of existing fossil-fuel based products.

        Through the resource circulation partnership with NETSPA, LG Chem is aiming to catch two birds with one stone, that is, protecting the marine ecosystem and reducing carbon emissions. At the same time, the company plans to continue their research of recycled plastics using marine wastes, keeping up the efforts for resource circulation.

        At last, recycling of waste vinyl!

        Recycling waste vinyl to obtain raw materials for chemical recycling

        In April 2024, LG Chem partnered with Ansan-si of Korea and signed an MOU to activate waste vinyl recycling and establish a circular economy society. Of the domestic waste generated at Ansan-si, waste vinyl takes up about 15,000 tons, and the amount is increasing every year. After collection, waste vinyl has been handed over to Solid Refuse Fuel (SRF) producers with a cost. Through this partnership, Ansan-si will provide a certain proportion of waste vinyl generated within the city to LG Chem, which will secure the company the raw materials needed to run their pyrolysis oil plant in Dangjin, which is scheduled to begin operation in 2024.

        This partnership is expected to provide a model case of public and private cooperation, walking toward a sustainable future together. In line with this, LG Chem plans to accelerate their business that can contribute to resource circulation.

        Reusable packaging wraps instead of one-off use

        Collect and convert packaging wraps into recycled wraps

        LG Chem signed an MOU with Korea’s biggest Logistics player, CJ Logistics, to recycle the packaging wraps discarded at distribution centers. CJ Logistics will collect and deliver the packaging wraps from their distribution centers around Korea, which will be processed into recycled wraps with LG Chem’s PCR technology and provided to CJ Logistics again. Recycled wrap is the thin plastic vinyl wrap used in distribution centers and industrial sites, mostly made of polyethylene (PE). Its purpose is to wrap and fix items on a platform carrier when they are stacked up and transported. Generally, these packaging wraps are fully discarded after the shipment. The packaging wraps discarded by CJ Logistics alone adds up to 2,000~3,000 tons a year. In April 2023, LG Chem provided 1,000 rolls of recycled wraps to CJ Logistics. The company plans to continue and expand the supply of their recycled wraps, using packaging wraps collected from CJ Logistics.

        The eco-friendly collaboration project between LG Chem and CJ Logistics reflects the two partners’ hope to reduce the amount of shipping wastes that is rapidly increasing. By utilizing the existing Logistics network, the two players will effectively recycle the packaging wraps discarded at each distribution center, establishing a recycle ecosystem.

        Eco-friendly cosmetic container developed with LG Chem’s PCR ABS!

        From proposal to marketing of eco-friendly cosmetic container

        In June 2023, LG Chem signed an MOU with Cosmax to develop cosmetic containers using recycled plastic. Cosmax is world’s number one original development manufacturer (ODM) who provides everything from product development to complete products to over 1,000 global customers including L’Oreal. Beginning with the supply of a recycled plastic, PCR ABS, LG Chem plans to propose various eco-friendly materials and collaborate with Cosmax across the entire process from development of cosmetic containers to marketing.

        Cosmetics have a much shorter replacement cycle than products in other industries, resulting in a large amount of plastic use and disposal. Therefore, it is essential that we transfer to eco-friendly materials like recycled plastics. Recently, as the environmental legislations are strengthened around the world, for instance, EU’s introduction of carbon border tax, a lot of global cosmetic players have announced to expand the use of recycled plastics by attaching the carbon footprint on their products by 2030.

        By collaborating with Cosmax and supporting the development of eco-friendly products, LG Chem plans to continue their commitment to reinforcing the resource circulation system of the cosmetics market.

        LG Chem cares about resource circulation

        Like this, LG Chem is making earnest efforts to develop various products using their mechanical∙chemical recycling technologies in order to create a 100% virtuous cycle of plastic resources. Mechanical recycling is the process of crushing waste plastics and turning them into a raw material again, which is the current method of plastic recycling. The packaging wrap collected by CJ Logistics and recycled materials supplied to Cosmax are processed by the mechanical recycling method, creating brand-new recycled plastic materials.

        Chemical recycling is the technology of breaking down waste plastics using high-temperature/high-pressure supercritical vapor. For those plastics that cannot be mechanically-recycled, we can put them in a high-temperature container and heat them up, filtering out the contaminants in the liquid and gas, which provides us the raw materials for a new plastic. In December 2024, LG Chem’s supercritical pyrolysis oil plant will be completed, securing 20,000 tons of annual pyrolysis oil production. Here, LG Chem plans to produce recycled plastic products using marine wastes supplied by NETSPA and waste vinyl collected from Ansan-si.

        The size of recycled plastic market is prospected to reach $77 billion by 2028. Based on their mechanical∙chemical recycling technologies and competencies, LG Chem intends to expand their product lines in order to target the recycled plastic market. Starting with the launch of eco-friendly remote control and set top box applied with LG Chem’s PCR ABS and PCR PC, we can look forward to finding LG Chem’s recycled plastic materials in a more variety of products like packaging wraps and eco-friendly cosmetic containers. Please keep your support for LG Chem’s recycled plastic products!

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