Specialty materials and chemicals company Eastman has been tapped by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a recipient of funding for the construction of its second onshore molecular plastics recycling facility.

The Tennessee-based firm was one of 33 U.S. companies selected to begin award negotiations for up to $375 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act funding, a feature of the Industrial Demonstrations Program (IDP). The DOE’s announcement led to Eastman’s commitment to build the plant, with the group naming Longview, Tex. as the location last week.

Eastman’s methanolysis technology can transform plastic waste into polymers to be used in new textiles and packaging. The renewal process allows tough-to-recycle waste to be broken down to the molecular level, then repolymerized into material that performs similarly to virgin inputs. Eastman said it is “enabling the potentially infinite use of materials by keeping these valuable molecules in production, in a material-to-material high-yield loop.”

The Patagonia partner and creator of Naia Renew recently completed construction on its first molecular recycling facility in its hometown of Kingsport, Tenn. It chose Texas as the site of its second plant because of the site’s “synergies with existing infrastructure and operations, favorable energy supply and footprint, and access to western and central U.S. feedstock pools.”

The DOE’s investment will feed into operations that prepare mixed plastic waste for processing, as well as the construction of Eastman’s molecular recycling unit. The machinery depolymerizes plastic waste, while another on-site facility will create new materials that feed into the textile and packaging supply chains. Once the site is operational, it will have the capacity to recycled about 110,000 metric tons of plastic each year, Eastman said.

The facility will have the capacity to recycle 110,000 metric tons of plastic waste.

The facility will have the capacity to recycle 110,000 metric tons of plastic waste.


In addition to the DOE funding, the group has finalized about $70 million in incentives from state and local governing bodies to assist in the building of the plant. The recycling facility is projected to create 200 full-time roles and about 1,000 temporary construction jobs during site development. Eastman has already operated in the area for more than 70 years, and has over 1,500 team members in Longview.

“We are excited to build our second U.S. world-scale molecular recycling facility at our existing site in Texas,” said Mark Costa, Eastman board chair and CEO. “The plant will remove significant waste from the region, enable true circularity and set a new benchmark for decarbonization,” he added.

“We have decades of history successfully operating in Longview, and this will be a great investment for the local community,” Costa said. as a part of the project, Eastman will support the renovation of a community outreach center as well as workforce training and development.

The DOE’s interest in the project stems from a desire to accelerate the development of low-carbon intensity recycled PET. The area features ample space for onsite renewable energy, and Eastman said the collaborative agreement with the government agency would allow it to expand the project to include the use of on-site solar power and thermal heat batteries, which convert renewable energy. The effort will yield recycled PET with over 70-percent reduced carbon emissions compared to virgin polymer production, and approximately 90 percent reduced carbon emissions when avoided emissions are taken into account.

“We are honored to be selected by the DOE to help fund this important project,” Costa added. “The commitment helps us to further invest in the local community with a comprehensive community benefits plan. The support of these partners is a testament to our technology and the difference we can make for future generations.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrated the decision to launch the second plant in Longview, stating, “Texas is where businesses flourish and people prosper.”

“With our highly skilled workforce, unmatched business climate, and reasonable regulations, it is no surprise businesses from around the globe continue to choose to grow in Texas,” he said. “This additional facility by Eastman in Longview will bring hundreds of good-paying jobs to hardworking Texans and millions in capital investment to East Texas.”

“I thank the members of the Texas Legislature and local leaders for their tireless work to attract world-class business investments to our great state. Together, we will continue to create a bigger, better Texas for generations to come.”

Related Post