Korea Herald – Feb 13, 2021
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Brightmark partners with SK to reuse 93% of plastic waste piling up in Korea amid pandemic

The world recycles only 9 percent of its plastic waste. Around 12 percent is incinerated. The remaining 79 percent piles up in landfills or is thrown into the natural environment as litter.

At this pace, there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brightmark, a waste solutions company based in San Francisco, aims to tackle the 79 percent with its patented recycling technology that can turn 93 percent of plastic wastes into reusable resources.

The company chose South Korea to put its first overseas recycling facility on the ground, and for a good reason.

“Korea has a lot of plastics and is a very industrialized nation, with a very good waste management system and a desire to solve this problem,” said Brightmark CEO Bob Powell, adding that Korea is his entrée to the Asia region.

“If you look at the studies around ocean plastics, the top 10 list in terms of the rivers that create the vast majority of ocean plastics, most of the top 10 sources are located in different parts of Asia. So (Asia) is a very important region of the world.”

Last month, Brightmark signed an agreement with SK Global Chemical — a subsidiary of SK Innovation — to form a joint venture to develop, finance, construct and operate a plastics renewal facility in Korea with an annual capacity of 100,000 metric tons in pursuit of a “plastics-to-plastics” circular economy.

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