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4/16/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

First Production of Virgin Polystyrene from Only Depolymerized Material

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INEOS Stryrolution completes test runs producing virgin PS from 100% recycled styrene monomer—practical proof of the recyclability of polystyrene.

INEOS Styrolution joins other resin suppliers on whom we have recently reported, including Eastman Chemical and Braskem, that are aiming to reduce post-consumer waste via chemical recycling. More specifically, recently completed lab-scale quantity of general-purpose polystyrene produced from 100% recycled styrene monomer by the company in Antwerp, Belgium, is said to signal a ‘game changer’ in PS production.

The material is the result of experimental PS production runs with styrene monomer feedstock produced from depolymerization of styrenic plastic. The tests—done in cooperation with commercial partners and universities—resulted in the production of virgin material with the same product properties as polystyrene produced from new styrene monomers. Commented global R&D expert Michiel Verswyvel, “We are very excited having achieved this breakthrough. Due to its relatively clean decomposition into its building blocks, polystyrene is almost designed to be recycled. Within our global project team, we are working to make this a stable process on a commercial level, by learning for example more about purity requirements of the feedstock material.”

President Alexander Glück, INEOS Styrolution Americas added that the global collaboration shows the company’s strong commitment to chemical recycling and sustainability. President Rob Buntinx for the company’s EMEA region, summed it up this way: “I am convinced that we have achieved a significant milestone in proving that polystyrene is recyclable and contributes to reducing post-consumer waste. We are now looking forward to scaling the process to an industrial level and saving valuable resources.”

This project is part of INEOS Styrolution’s ambitious efforts aiming at circularity for styrenics to save valuable resources, recycle styrenic waste and reduce the ecological footprint. The company’s efforts include research projects, as well as collaboration through the value chain and partnerships with customers.