In a joint statement released Sept. 17, Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo announced that they are ready to build what they are calling a "first-of-its-kind polystyrene recycling plant based on depolymerization" in Wingles, France.
The facility will operate at commercial scale, with a processing capacity of up to 50 metric tons per day of post-consumer polystyrene feedstock. It is expected to be fully operational by mid-2023.
The companies will evaluate two different technology pyrolysis-based concepts during the conceptual design phase — one from Agilyx Corp. and the other from Swindon, England-based Recycling Technologies Ltd. — in terms of quality, efficiency and adaptation to different waste streams.
The new facility will mark a step change in polystyrene recycling in Europe, said Nicolas Joly, vice president of plastics and feedstocks at Trinseo and president of the industry-led Styrenics Circular Solutions initiative.
The plant will be part of establishing a "novel recycling infrastructure for styrenics in Europe together with key players from across the entire value chain."
The plastics-to-plastics depolymerization technology converts PS food packaging waste back into its original liquid monomer, which then can be repolymerized and used in the same applications as virgin PS.
The new plant represents a significant commitment of capital and resources, said Sven Riechers, vice president, business management, standard products for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Ineos Styrolution, as well as a major milestone in 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," he said.