Materials maker Ineos Styrolution has struck a joint development agreement with technology firm Polystyvert to improve recycling of polystyrene.
Montreal-based Polystyvert uses a patented dissolution technology to process PS waste into high-quality recycled PS, officials said in a Feb. 2 news release. The method takes plastic waste in its solid form and dissolves it in a solvent.
Once dissolved, the process can mechanically and chemically separate contaminants and additives, before finally separating the original polymer from the solvent. The end product is a cleaned polymer that can be used as new raw material resin again, officials said.
The technology can treat all types of feedstock, from industrial waste to post-consumer. It also can eliminate a wide range of contaminants such as pigments and brominated flame-retardants. Recycled PS pellets can then be used to make a variety of PS products, including food-grade applications.
Ineos Styrolution officials said that their Frankfurt, Germany-based firm has sustainability goals to improve and increase the recovery of post-consumer PS. They added that the agreement with Polystyvert reinforces their commitment to explore continued research into advanced recycling technologies.
"The purification capacity of Polystyvert's technology is unique," according to Ineos executive Ricardo Cuetos. Cuetos serves as standard products vice president for Ineos Styrolution Americas.
He added that the high quality of the final recycled PS resin "is essential to achieving a truly circular economy in key markets like food service packaging."
Polystyvert CEO Solenne Brouard said that dissolution "is an efficient, low-energy technology which offers a cost effective solution to recycle polystyrene in a closed loop."
Using this method, she added, recycled PS is produced at a competitive price, opening up the full potential for a circular economy.
It's the second time in three years that Polystyvert has partnered with a materials firm to advance its technology. In May 2018, the firm announced a deal with the Polymers unit of French-based Total SA.
Ineos Styrolution is a global leader in styrenic materials. The firm employs 3,600 and posted sales of around $6 billion in 2019.