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SK, Asia Pulp to develop eco-friendly packaging paper

Indonesia's Asia Pulp & Paper, SK Geo Centric to expand cooperation into biodegradable packaging paper

By Sep 16, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

SK Geo Centric CEO Na Kyung-soo (left) and APP Sinar Mas Chairman Huang Zhi Yuan (right) join the online MOU signing event (Courtesy of SK Geo Centric)
SK Geo Centric CEO Na Kyung-soo (left) and APP Sinar Mas Chairman Huang Zhi Yuan (right) join the online MOU signing event (Courtesy of SK Geo Centric)

SK Geo Centric Co., South Korea’s leading petrochemical company, will develop eco-friendly paper coating materials to enter the recyclable packaging paper market, jointly with Indonesia's Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas.

SK Geo, formerly known as SK Global Chemical Co., on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jakarta-based paper group on the joint development of eco-friendly paper materials for food packaging. 

Both companies plan to expand their cooperation into chemical-free, biodegradable packaging paper, according to SK.

"By cooperating with the leading paper company APP, we expect to create synergy in developing eco-friendly packaging paper materials as an alternative to plastics," SK Geo Centric Chief Executive Na Kyung-soo said in a statement.

Specifically, the South Korean company will develop coating materials based on high-performance polyolefins (PO), which are increasingly used for food packaging and biomedical applications. High-performance PO is categorized as an eco-friendly material because of its greater adhesive strength, even with a smaller amount of use compared with other coating materials. 

Polyolefins are not biodegradable. But if it is used for eco-friendly paper materials to be developed by APP, the packaging paper can be more easily recyclable than the existing packaging paper, the company added.

Alongside the development of eco-friendly material technology, recyclable paper is replacing plastic bags in the food package industry to meet the environmental, social and governance standards.

SK, Asia Pulp to develop eco-friendly packaging paper
Up to now, polyethylene (PE) is the most popular coating material for paper-based packaging. SK Geo's production capacity of PE reaches 400,000 tons per year.

To bulk up the eco-friendly polyolefin production, SK Geo last year acquired the functional PO business from Arkema S.A., a French chemicals company, for around €250 million.

Last month, SK Geo, 100% owned by SK Innovation Co., changed its company name from SK Global Chemical to reidentify itself as a plastic upcycling company.

Meanwhile, SK Innovation recently suspended the process of selling up to a 49% stake in SK Geo Centric to a private equity firm due to a wide price gap.

Write to Jeong-min Nam at peux@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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