Circular Economy Plans for Europe’s First Polystyrene Recycling Plant in Progress

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Ineos Styrolution, Recycling Technologies and Trinseo have advanced in their plans to construct commercial polystyrene (PS) recycling plants in Europe. The three companies aim to make PS a circular material through depolymerization.

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Prior to building the commercial scale recycling plants, a PS recycling pilot plant will be built in the UK in 2022.
Prior to building the commercial scale recycling plants, a PS recycling pilot plant will be built in the UK in 2022.
(Source: Ineos Styrolution)

Frankfurt/Germany – Ineos Styrolution, Recycling Technologies and Trinseo have recently announced that they have reached a significant milestone in their plans to build commercial polystyrene (PS) recycling plants in Europe. Recycling Technologies has been selected as the technology partner. These three companies all share the same vision of making PS a circular material through depolymerization. The unique properties of PS allow for full circularity where PS waste is returned to its chemical building blocks before being polymerized again. The recycled PS will have identical properties with virgin PS. Life cycle assessment calculations show significant decreases in greenhouse gas emissions when compared with PS production from naphtha.

Following a detailed assessment of technology options, Recycling Technologies was selected to join Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo as the technology provider for commercial scale recycling of PS. Recycling Technologies’ solution provided the highest yields in the conversion of PS to styrene monomer and provided the most scalable solution due to the company’s fluidized bed reactor combined with expertise of a highly skilled technical team.

Prior to building the commercial scale recycling plants, a PS recycling pilot plant will be built in the UK in 2022, and the technology will be further developed jointly by the three parties. The pilot plant will provide information and data related to chemical recycling and operations to support future development of the commercial scale recycling plants. Ineos Styrolution plans to build its full commercial scale recycling facility in Wingles, France.

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Trinseo announces its plan to build its own plant in Tessenderlo, Belgium, which is expected to be operational in 2023. Each plant would aim to convert 15kT/y of PS waste into recycled styrene. Sven Riechers, Vice President, Business Management, Standard Products EMEA at Ineos Styrolution, said, “Being the location of one of our polystyrene plants in Europe, Wingles is perfectly suited for our future recycling facility.” Nicolas Joly, Vice President, Plastics & Feedstocks at Trinseo and President of Styrenics Circular Solutions, adds, “Polystyrene turns out to be a wonderful polymer. Not only is depolymerization an effective recycling method, but it also allows for recycling while also maintaining food contact compliancy.”

Adrian Griffiths, CEO & Founder of Recycling Technologies, comments, “Our collaboration with Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo is a strong recognition of our technology’s ability to make polystyrene circular. We look forward to working with these two global leading companies to build Europe’s first chemical polystyrene recycling facility.”

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