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Europe to Receive its Maiden Polystyrene Chemical Recycling Facility

| Editor: Ahlam Rais

The project is an important step in order to turn everyday plastics into renewable resources.
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The project is an important step in order to turn everyday plastics into renewable resources. (Source: Deposit Photos)

Ineos Styrolution, Trinseo, and Agilyx have collaborated to establish the first of its kind polystyrene chemical recycling plant in Europe. The new commercial scale facility is expected to process up to 50 tonnes-per-day of post-consumer PS feedstock.

Brussels/Belgium – Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS) and Agilyx have recently announced a collaboration between Ineos Styrolution, Trinseo, and Agilyx to advance the first-of-a-kind polystyrene (PS) chemical recycling facility in Europe.

SCS members Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo, global leaders in the manufacturing of PS and other styrenic materials combined resources to advance the development of a commercial scale chemical recycling plant. The new plant will be capable of processing up to 50 tonnes-per-day of post-consumer PS feedstock.

This project advancement follows the promising results of an evaluation study in which SCS, the joint industry initiative to increase the circularity of styrenic polymers, engaged Agilyx, a leading developer of chemical recycling technologies for plastics, to perform tests with samples of post-consumer PS food packaging waste. Agilyx evaluated the composition of the waste feedstock and successfully recycled it back into its original liquid monomer, using its proprietary depolymerisation technology. This project demonstrated polystyrene’s unique intrinsic capability to be fully recycled.

“This is an exciting time in the advancement of plastics recycling, when we really can make a difference with the development of a plant that will not only lead the way to significantly increase European PS recycling rates, but also truly close the loop with food grade recycled content,” said Rob Slangen, Plastic and Feedstocks Technology Leader at Trinseo and member of the SCS Technology Working Group. He added: “As such, we are well-positioned to become a key contributor to the European Commission's recycling goals.”

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“We are excited by the results from the work we have already completed with Agilyx, which demonstrate how robust and advanced Agilyx’s depolymerisation technology for PS is and underscores PS’ excellent recyclability. With this chemical recycling technology we hold the solution in our hands, with which PS can be managed as a renewable and environmentally friendly source,” said Dr. Norbert Niessner, Director Global R&D/IP, Ineos Styrolution, and Chair of the SCS Technology Working Group.

“Our collaboration with SCS, and for this specific project, with Trinseo, and Ineos Styrolution is a needed and important step in being able to turn everyday plastics into a renewable resource,” said Joe Vaillancourt, Agilyx’s CEO. “For over 15 years Agilyx has been driven with a vision to end wasteful outcomes of post-consumer plastics and ensure that no plastic ends up in a landfill. This collaboration will allow us to create a fully circular solution for post-consumer PS which has so many benefits to the way we live,” he added.

“SCS initiated this important project as part of our commitment to drive up European styrenics recycling rates,” explained Jens Kathmann, Secretary General SCS. “I am very happy that our member companies Ineos Stryrolution and Trinseo have now taken it to the next phase and together with collaboration partner Agilyx will be driving the scale-up implementation in line with the EU Plastics Strategy. I am looking forward to many more projects to come to create a novel recycling infrastructure for styrenics in Europe together with key players from across the entire value chain,” he commented.

PS is a polymer with unique circularity potential, as it is most easily reversed into its original monomer at high yield with the emerging game-changing recycling technologies. The liquid state of its monomer enables easy purification. The recycled monomer is identical to the virgin monomer. It can thus be processed into styrenics polymers with identical, virgin quality enabling all applications, including food contact. Also, from there it can be continuously recycled, over and over again.

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