KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Eastman Chemical Company have announced plans to build “one of the world’s largest plastic-to-plastic molecular recycling facilities” in Kingsport.
According to a release from Eastman, the new facility will utilize methanolysis to convert polyester waste into usable and durable products, rather than allowing them to end up in a landfill.
You can watch News Channel 11’s live stream of the Eastman press conference below:
Eastman plans to invest about $250 million into the facility.
90 jobs will be created when the facility opens.
Eastman Board Chair and CEO Mark Costa made the announcement along with Governor Lee Friday at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center.
“Utilizing the company’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,” according to the release.
The facility will take plastic waste, including carpets, textiles, and bottles – and transform it into specialty plastics through polyester renewal technology. From this process, items like BPA-free water bottles and storage containers will be made.
“The site we have here has also got a significant number of advantages. So the integration we have at this site, allows us to access a very different kind of feedstock than what people normally go for,” said Costa.
The facility is expected to be “mechanically complete” by the end of 2022. Construction will begin in March.
The governor did confirm the state offered an incentive to Eastman for the project, but couldn’t say offhand what its value was.
Eastman says the new project will allow them to reduce its fossil feedstock and greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s current commitment: recycling over 250 million pounds of plastic waste annually by 2025. They then want to recycle over 500 million pounds annually by 2030.
You can read the full release below: