Making Polystyrene circular

INEOS Styrolution, Recycling Technologies and Trinseo progress plans for the first polystyrene recycling plant in Europe

  • Future technology design to be based on Recycling Technologies’ depolymerisation solution
  • A pilot plant will be built in the UK in 2022

INEOS Styrolution, Recycling Technologies and Trinseo have announced today 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 depolymerisation. The unique properties of PS allow for full circularity where PS waste is returned to its chemical building blocks before being polymerised 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 fluidised 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. 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 depolymerisation an effective recycling method, but it also allows for recycling while also maintaining food contact compliancy.”

Adrian Griffiths, CEO & Founder of Recycling Technologies Ltd., 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.”

About Recycling Technologies
UK-based Recycling Technologies Ltd is on a mission to accelerate the evolution of plastic into a more sustainable material. Currently, 88% of the plastic used in the world is either buried, burned or leaked into the environment[1]. This means that the world recycles only 12% of the 359 million tonnes of plastic produced each year[2].  Recycling Technologies, a research, engineering, and manufacturing company, has developed innovative technologies to turn hard-to-recycle plastic waste including polystyrene and flexible packaging into feedstocks for new plastic production. Our first commercial product, the RT7000, is modular and small-scale, designed to fit easily onto existing waste treatment and recycling sites, providing a scalable solution to recycle waste plastic anywhere in the world. For further information, please visit www.recyclingtechnologies.co.uk.

About Trinseo
Trinseo (NYSE:TSE) is a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber with a focus on delivering innovative, sustainable, and value-creating products that are intrinsic to our daily lives. Trinseo is dedicated to making a positive impact on society by partnering with like-minded stakeholders, and supporting the sustainability goals of our customers in a wide range of end-markets including automotive, consumer electronics, appliances, medical devices, packaging, footwear, carpet, paper and board, building and construction, and tires. Trinseo had approximately $3 billion in net sales in 2020, with 17 manufacturing sites around the world, and approximately 2,600 employees. For more information, please visit: www.trinseo.com.

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