Plans for a first European polystyrene recycling plant in France

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Polystyrene (Source: Ineos Styrolution)

Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo, global leaders in the manufacturing of polystyrene and other styrenic materials, announced that they are advancing plans to build the first-of-its-kind polystyrene recycling plant based on depolymerisation in Wingles in the north of France. The planned full commercial scale recycling facility will be capable of processing up to 50 tons-per-day of post-consumer polystyrene feedstock and is expected to be fully operational by mid-2023.

In previous project milestones, the depolymerisation of polystyrene has proven to be an ideal recycling process showcasing polystyrene’s unique intrinsic capability for full circularity. The plastics-to-plastics depolymerisation technology converts polystyrene food packaging waste directly back into its original liquid monomer, which then can be repolymerised into recycled polystyrene for the same high-quality end applications, including food contact applications much like virgin polystyrene. During the conceptual design phase two technology concepts from Agilyx and Recycling Technologies will be evaluated with regards to quality, efficiency and adaptation to different waste streams.

“We are excited to move to the next phase of engineering of this plant, as we are well on track to deploy the game-changing depolymerisation technology with the construction of this recycling plant in France,” said Nicolas Joly, Vice President, Plastics & Feedstocks at Trinseo and President of Styrenics Circular Solutions. “This plant will be part of establishing a novel recycling infrastructure for styrenics in Europe together with key players from across the entire value chain, which will mark a step change in polystyrene recycling.”

Sven Riechers, Vice President, Business Management, Standard Products EMEA at Ineos Styrolution, said: “Our collaboration is a significant commitment of capital and resources and a major milestone in truly closing the loop with food grade recycled content. It forms part of Ineos Styrolution’s and Trinseo’s commitments to use, on average, 30 percent recycled content in products destined for polystyrene packaging in Europe by 2025.”

Trinseo and Ineos Styrolution are founding members of Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS), the value chain initiative to increase the circularity of styrenics. Jens Kathmann, Secretary General of SCS, concludes: “The construction of a polystyrene depolymerisation plant is much awaited by the market and brings our joint vision one step closer to fruition to deliver on the unique circularity potential of styrenics. In parallel, SCS, its members and partners are continuing to advance our food contact mechanical recycling and dissolution technologies that complement our portfolio of plastics-to-plastics recycling to jump start the availability of recycled polystyrene.”

Background:

AmSty, Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo have signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to accelerate the introduction of circularity for one of the most recyclable polymers, polystyrene. The JDA targets advancements in all technical aspects to enable scaled investment in advanced commercial recycling solutions and optimize recycling technologies for large-scale commercial use. Polystyrene is a unique polymer suitable for multiple advanced recycling solutions like depolymerisation. Its properties make it ideal for a circular economy – even enabling food contact compliancy of the recycled material, often considered the holy grail of polymer recycling.

Source: Ineos Styrolution