A consortium of Spanish companies, formed by ANAPE (Spain's national association for expanded polystyrene), has begun research into recycling expanded polystyrene (EPS) into quality packaging items.
The consortium, which consists of Coexpan, Cicloplast, El Corte Ingles and Total Petrochemicals Iberica will work on the three-year EPS-Sure project, which aims to offer “a technically, environmentally, and economically viable solution to convert this waste into a valuable resource.”
In a 15 Nov statement, Cicloplast, a non‐profit organisation which aims to promote recycling of end-of-life plastics, said it was coordinating the €1.5m project, which is co-funded by the European Commission's ‘LIFE' progamme.
The project will use a pilot plant at the facilities of Total Petrochemicals Iberica near Barcelona, to manufacture recycled polystyrene (rPS) with suitable quality for applications in food contact, aiming to transform fish boxes into food packages.
The project will be replicated across Europe once successfully completed in Spain.
“EPS fish boxes are 100% recyclable, but in the commercial stream, they are not reused properly due to the difficulty of transporting them,” noted Raquel López, director of ANAPE.
According to López, the project aims to demonstrate that there are final applications with a high added value that will make the management of this waste profitable.
Also commenting on the partnership, Marcelo Miranda, CEO of Total Petrochemicals in Spain said the move was “a significant environmental and technological challenge to produce PS from the EPS of the fish boxes,”
Stating that no similar technology was available in Europe, Miranda said his company would continue to work on “an innovative process to purify the EPS that will enable us to obtain PS that is suitable for food contact”.