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Polystyrene Recycling Trinseo to Process 50 Tonnes of Post-Consumer Polystyrene Feedstock Daily

| Editor: Ahlam Rais

In Europe, Trinseo aims to offer 30 % recycled content for polystyrene packaging by 2025. To achieve this objective, the company intends to set up a huge facility for large-scale polystyrene recycling.

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Polystyrene depolymerisation uses polystyrene waste and recycles it back into the original styrene monomer for use in new applications, making it circular.
Polystyrene depolymerisation uses polystyrene waste and recycles it back into the original styrene monomer for use in new applications, making it circular.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

USA – Trinseo has collaborated with Ineos Styrolution and Agilyx to construct a mega polystyrene chemical recycling facility in Europe which will use polystyrene waste for chemical recycling and depolymerisation. The new unit is expected to process 50 tonnes of post-consumer polystyrene feedstock daily. Polystyrene depolymerisation uses polystyrene waste and recycles it back into the original styrene monomer for use in new applications, making it circular. Trinseo recently made its plan public to offer 30 % recycled content to customers for polystyrene packaging in Europe by 2025.

The company is a founding member of Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS), a consortium which explores new methods for polystyrene recycling. Trinseo has been a key supplier to the global packaging industry for decades. It offers high-impact polystyrene and polystyrene universal products for use in dairies, foodservice, serving, delis and bakeries, frozen and chilled products.

Nicolas Joly, global business director, polystyrene and feedstocks, Trinseo, told Packaging News: “The announcement followed promising results from a study initiated by SCS focused on investigating the depolymerisation of post-consumer polystyrene waste.

“Our new European chemical recycling plant will advance this work, demonstrating polystyrene’s unique intrinsic capability to be fully recycled. Our aim is to process up to 50 tonnes of post-consumer polystyrene feedstock each day.”

One of SCS’ aims is to unlock full polystyrene circularity through chemical recycling.

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Joly said SCS aims to engage stakeholders from the entire value chain, including recyclers, waste management companies, converters and brand owners to join SCS and link waste streams to innovative recycling technologies.

“In addition, SCS places great importance on the collaboration with policymakers and authorities to promote the harmonisation of styrenics collection and sorting practices at European, regional and local levels.”

He explained that polystyrene is ‘unique from a recycling standpoint’. “Few other mass-produced polymers can be as fully returned to original form and re-used as polystyrene. Just as with other plastics, polystyrene can be recycled using mechanical and dissolution methods and SCS is working to advance these processes with the value chain.”

The joint venture plant comes off-the-back of successful commercial operation of this technology in North America. “Our new European chemical recycling plant will advance this work, demonstrating polystyrene’s unique intrinsic capability to be fully recycled. By increasing polystyrene recycling rates and closing the loop with food grade recycled content we will be well-positioned to become a key contributor to the European Commission’s recycling goals.”

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