Coexpan, part of Grupo Lantero and manufacturer of rigid plastic sheets and thermoformed products and materials company Trinseo have embarked on a joint effort aimed at validating various polystyrene recycling technologies. The companies are seeking to develop a polystyrene material containing recycled content that is fit for use in the global dairy industry’s form fill seal (“FFS“) market. It is a sector in which Coexpan, as a leading supplier of form-fill-seal sheet for dairy packaging applications, is active.
Although the dairy FFS packaging market has historically preferred the use of polystyrene, here, too, interest in alternative polymers has been rising, as polystyrene has long been perceived as unrecyclable and hence unsuitable for use in a circular plastics economy.
This is a misperception, say Trinseo, based in Berwyn, Pa., and Coexpan. The companies are now seeking to demonstrate as much by testing different recycled materials, all derived using different technologies and supplied by Trinseo, at Innotech, Coexpan& Emsur’s Innovation Technology Centre for Rigid and Flexible Packaging, in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.
According to the partners, r-PS is a game changer for the FFS market. Not only does polystyrene offer unique potential for closed-loop recycling, the process is relatively is simple, leading to a lower carbon footprint and extended lifecycle.
“Full circularity for polystyrene is imminent,” said Nicolas Joly, Vice President Plastics and Feedstocks at Trinseo.
This gives polystyrene a major competitive advantage over the other alternatives, argue the two companies. Industrial volumes are expected to come online by the third quarter of 2022.
“We are very pleased to have established this collaboration with Trinseo, which will allow us to demonstrate the viability of mechanical and chemical recycling processes for polystyrene,” said Dinis Mota, CEO of Coexpan. Innotech, he added is constantly innovating with recycling and circularity in mind. “We do not launch a product without first addressing circularity.”
“Such partnerships are key to accelerating the transition to circular economy and contributing to the European Commission's recycling goal,” added Joly.