The Netherlands: Circular Economy New Plant to Recycle EPS Demolition Waste, Legacy Additives

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Polystyreneloop Cooperative has established a new recycling plant in Terneuzen, the Netherlands. The facility is expected to launch on June 16, 2021 and will have the capacity to recycle 3,300 metric tons of polystyrene foam demolition waste per year.

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The Polystyreneloop facility will recycle EPS insulation using a physical recycling process based on the Creasolv Technology.
The Polystyreneloop facility will recycle EPS insulation using a physical recycling process based on the Creasolv Technology.
(Source: Pixabay)

Terneuzen/The Netherlands – A new recycling plant in the Netherlands will recycle not just expanded polystyrene (EPS) demolition waste but also a legacy additive previously thought impossible to recycle. The Polystyreneloop recycling plant in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, is scheduled to open on June 16. The plant was built to prove the technical and economic feasibility of a large-scale, closed-loop solution for the recycling of EPS waste.

The Polystyreneloop facility will recycle EPS insulation using a physical recycling process based on the Creasolv Technology. This technology will turn EPS foam demolition waste from old building insulation into new high quality raw material. All kinds of impurities, such as cement or other construction residues, as well as the legacy flame retardant HBCD, will be safely removed and the valuable bromine it contains recovered.

“This plant showcases how the EPS industry is always looking for ways to boost its recycling capabilities,” said Lein Tange, Co-Director of Polystyreneloop. “The purpose of this plant is to pave the way for the construction of similar EPS recycling plants in the rest of Europe.”

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The legal structure of the plant, which benefited from a European Union Life program grant, was also unique. It has been built by the Polystyreneloop Cooperative, a Dutch non-profit organization whose members comprise 75 industry representatives from the whole polystyrene foam value chain.

The Terneuzen plant will have the capacity to recycle 3,300 metric tons of polystyrene foam demolition waste per year, validating the technical, economic, and environmental viability of a new recycling process in which polystyrene foams containing HBCD can be fully integrated in the circular economy rather than being lost from circularity.

“It’s a real plus that the plant can not only take care of current recycling waste but also legacy recycling waste,” said Jan Noordegraaf, co-director of the plant. “Moreover, we can do this with about the same energy input as mechanical recycling and the energy we use comes from windmills.”

The PS Loop plant will demonstrate the possibility of indefinite recycling of EPS construction waste.

EPS is a lightweight foam composed of 98 % air and 2 % technology with outstanding protective and thermal insulation properties. In addition to building and road construction uses, it is widely used in packaging to protect everything from heavy white goods to sensitive electronics, fresh fruit and vegetables, vaccines and even bees.

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