Taiwan’s Far Eastern boosts recycled-PET output to capitalize on boom in eco-products

22, Apr. 2020

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

TAIPEI, NNA - It's getting really cool to wear trendy apparel and shoes made from recycled plastic water bottles.

Leading polyester and textile producer Far Eastern New Century Corp. (FENC) is ramping up production of polyester using salvaged plastic to meet the upsurge in global demand for eco-products.

“Demand is booming and the market is way larger than our current output can satisfy,” a company official told NNA on Tuesday.

Riding on the rising wave of sustainability, the Taiwanese firm expanded its recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate or rPET) business locally and abroad in the past year.

It acquired a U.S. company and injected capital in production bases in Taiwan and Japan, said the official, who declined to reveal investment figures.

Speaking to NNA, he said FENC is targeting Southeast Asia countries next to set up a base for its production of rPET, a flexible material that could be used for making reusable drink containers, bags, clothes and footwear.

“A large group of drink consumers in these populous countries has made the region an ideal choice,” said the official, reiterating that output is expected to grow exponentially in future.

FENC, which claims to be the world’s second largest rPET producer on its website, plans to increase output by 20 percent to hit 507,000 tons this year, it said in a statement.

FENC statistics showed its rPET production had enjoyed significant growth from 20,000 tons in 2012 to 403,000 tons by end-2019.

Major brands such as Nike and Adidas have committed to using a certain portion of rPET in their apparel and shoe products by 2025, according to a report by Commercial Times in Taiwan.

Facing the brunt of an unexpected oil turmoil, FENC recorded a 15.6 percent fall in revenue to NT$52.2 billion ($1.73 billion) during the January-March period. Earnings also declined consecutively the past three months. The official blamed falling rPET prices squarely on the severe oil price slump.

He expects a slow recovery in demand as many European countries and the United States are still grappling with the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.