Materials firm Americas Styrenics LLC (AmSty) has set a goal of 25 percent recycled content in all foodservice and food packaging applications by 2030.
AmSty — a maker of polystyrene resin and styrene monomer based in The Woodlands, Texas — is moving toward this goal with a circular recycling process at Regenyx LLC, its joint venture with Agilyx Corp., officials said in an Oct. 20 news release. AmSty has an end goal of keeping PS products out of landfills through this recycling process, they added.
Regenyx breaks down PS products to their original molecular form. The resulting styrene monomer is then used to create the exact same products again, officials said, with original quality and function.
Since its start-up in early 2019, Regenyx has converted more than 1 million pounds of used PS to all-new materials. Officials said that amount is equivalent to keeping 37.5 million foam cups or 32.5 million takeout containers out of landfill.
They added that circular recycling will become a reality on a much larger scale. AmSty has partnered with Ineos Styrolution to build a plant in Channahon, Ill., that can recycle 100 tons per day. Engineering design for that plant is under way.
"It is time for circular technology to scale up and truly make a difference in plastics becoming sustainable," Tim Barnette, AmSty polymers and sustainability vice president, said in the release.
He added that PS "is the only plastic resin material that can be converted back to a liquid monomer, making it simple to be re-formed into new, original-quality products."
"As disposable items are needed, they should be made from the most sustainable material available. Our customers require packaging that is both safe and sustainable, and we are committed to helping achieve their goals by restoring polystyrene through circular recycling."
AmSty's vision of keeping all PS out of landfills "will be a heavy lift," Barnette said. Officials added that meeting that goal will require collaboration with cities and states to create infrastructure that makes it easy for consumers to participate. They added that collection infrastructure must be overhauled so that mixed plastic waste can be sorted, processed and made ready for circular recycling.
"Our Regenyx facility has proven that sustainable long-term solutions for our products are possible," CEO Randy Pogue said in the release. "That fuels our excitement for the Channahon facility and the meaningful advancement it will bring for polystyrene as a circular recycled product."
AmSty is a joint venture equally owned by Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Trinseo.