Mexico City — A senior Eastman Chemical Co. official in Latin America says the company will add partners for its chemical recycling projects by the end of June.
"We are talking to [potential] partners all over the world and soon we will have more news," said Rogério Assad Dias, regional business manager for São Paulo-based Eastman Chemical do Brasil Ltda.'s specialty plastics unit, on April 4 during Plastimagen in Mexico City.
The announcement will be made by the end of the second quarter of 2019.
In a news release the previous day, Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman said it had completed pilot tests on "breakthrough" technology to process non-polyester and mixed plastics that cannot be recycled through traditional methods and was planning commercial production in 2019.
The company is looking for partners to help boost its recycling capacity, it added.
The announcement came just weeks after Eastman unveiled its Advanced Circular Recycling technology for, among other uses, recycling low-quality polyester waste that normally would be sent to landfills.
"We have made a commitment to a circular economy and are sticking with it," Assad said. "We are pioneering innovation like no other chemical company. This is the second technology we have announced in less than a month. We are in discussions with several partners to get this stuff out of landfills and we are now studying the engineering and economics to see where it will take place.
"It's a global solution and definitely we will partner with other companies. I think it will play well with the major consumer markets we have."
Assad said that on the business front Eastman started 2019 slowly in Latin America, with many people blaming talk of a trade war between the United States and China for the slow demand.
"But we finished March very well, ahead of our plans. I don't know how the rest of the year will unfold. But everyone seems to be very positive."
Asked about the uncertain political climate in Mexico, allegedly partly caused by the comments and decisions made by left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Assad said:
"I'm Brazilian. So do what you have to do and don't worry about the things over which you have no control. [Politicians] will do their stuff and are always looking for approval ratings and delivering on their campaign promises."
At the end of the day, it was the private sector that would drive Mexico's progress, he said
"Mexico will continue to grow. I don't see a radical change coming," he said. "Nobody wants another Venezuela."
Eastman has four manufacturing plants in Latin America, two in Brazil and two in Mexico.
Scandiflex do Brasil Ltda., of Mauá, São Paulo, makes polymeric and monomeric plasticizers; Eastman Chemical Itupeva produces a vulcanizing agent used in the tire industry; the Tlaxcala site in Mexico makes polyvinyl butyral (PVB) film, used to manufacture safety laminated glass for the automotive and architectural markets; and the facility in Uruapan, Mexico, produces 30 different resin products which are used in adhesives, chewing gum, coatings and inks.