Green Materials: Agilyx works towards PS circularity; AmSty uses recycled SM from Agilyx

Green Materials: Agilyx works towards PS circularity; AmSty uses recycled SM from Agilyx

With the recent news of Ineos Styrolution’s innovation of polystyrene (PS) chemical recycling, US firm Agilyx, which developed the first system capable of recycling PS waste into styrene monomer for use in new PS products, is also working towards the circularity of PS.

It recently worked with Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS), the joint industry initiative to accelerate circularity for styrenic polymers, that supplied Agilyx mixed plastic waste samples, mainly from food packaging, such as yoghurt pots, collected and sorted in several European countries, such as Germany, France and Belgium. Agilyx evaluated the composition of the waste feedstock and subsequently recycled it back into their original monomer, using its proprietary depolymerisation technology.

Dr. Norbert Niessner, SCS Chair of Technologies said, “The average styrene concentration is typical of our experience with samples of high impact polystyrene (HIPS). Now, we are working on further optimising process conditions for maximum yield.” SCS aims at further improving the styrene monomer yield from the depolymerisation process while reducing coproducts. “We want to find the optimal purity level of post-consumer plastic waste, before we move on to replicate the results at a commercial unit,” he explained.

This depolymerisation testing comes after SCS’ recent incorporation in December 2018 and represents a cornerstone of its roadmap to propel the Circular Economy forward for styrenics. As part of its voluntary pledge in the context of the campaign launched by the European Commission, SCS says it has committed to dramatically accelerate the commercial use of game-changing technologies that make PS products fully recyclable. Its portfolio of recycling technologies includes dissolution and chemical recycling back to its monomer. New styrenic products can then be made from recycled styrene monomer without any degradation of quality or value so that they can be used again and again in high-quality applications, even for food contact items, says SCS.

Meanwhile, in related news, Agilyx says it has sent its first commercial load of recycled styrene monomer (RSM) to Americas Styrenics LLC (AmSty), a US producer of PS and styrene monomer.

Both Agilyx and AmSty signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture in November 2018 and had also announced an offtake agreement to process recycled styrene monomer produced at Agilyx's Oregon, facility in AmSty's Louisiana styrene plant.

Once the RSM is processed, it will go to an AmSty PS production facility to be converted into PS pellets, the building blocks for both solid and foam products used in food service packaging such as cups, plates, take-home containers and many other innovative products.

AmSty says it continues to improve this recycling process, solidifying the place of PS as a major component of the future circular economy.

AmSty President/CEO Brad Crocker remains optimistic about the recycling process and its future applications. “This is yet another successful milestone in our PolyUsable process to ensure no single-use items made from AmSty polystyrene ever need to be landfilled,” he said.


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