The Swindon base of plastic recycling pioneer Recycling Technologies will be the European testbed for recycling polystyrene.
INEOS Styrolution, the German-based global leader in the supply of polystyrene, announced yesterday (Thursday) that Europe’s first advanced chemical polystyrene recycling facility would be established in Swindon.
It is expected to be operational by the second half of 2022.
The decision is a significant step forward launching polystyrene recycling through depolymerisation technology.
Depolymerisation is an advanced recycling technology that converts polystyrene waste feedstock back into its main building block, Styrene which can then be used to manufacture new polystyrene with identical properties to the virgin material.
The unique properties of polystyrene allow this efficient monomer recycling process to be harnessed avoiding the need to downcycle polystyrene.
An additional benefit of depolymerisation is a significant decrease of greenhouse gas emissions when compared with the production of virgin polystyrene.
The Swindon pilot plant will be based on Recycling Technologies’ fluidised bed reactor technology, which offers excellent scalability making it the technology of choice for future even larger recycling plants.
Dr. Alexander Glück, president EMEA at INEOS Styrolution said: “I am excited to see this project move ahead. With Recycling Technologies we have found a partner who is not only offering a very attractive technology, but who is also sharing our own vision to avoid polystyrene ending up in landfills or being incinerated.
“We are on the right path to make polystyrene a circular material.”
Adrian Griffiths, CEO and founder of Recycling Technologies, said: “We welcome INEOS Styrolution’s decision and are pleased to be a critical element of the team to build Europe’s first advanced chemical polystyrene recycling facility.
“Harnessing our fluidised bed engineering technology and expertise to recycling polystyrene is a critical step to making polystyrene circular.”
Despite being one of the most popular forms of plastic – and an excellent insulator, making it an ideal container for hot food and drinks – polystyrene is currently difficult and expensive to recycle, and when it is it cannot be used for food and drink.
It can be recycled into packaging – most commonly by shredding it into small balls used for packaging.
Currently, just 12 percent of the world’s polystyrene is recycled.