has commercialized its recycled polystyrene (PS) from dissolution technology and is offering a new material using this process - STYRON™ CO2RE™ 687DI30
. This is the first of a series of recycled PS products that Trinseo intends to launch under the STYRON™ CO2RE™ brand in the coming years.
The New Method
With this material / recycling method, post-consumer recycled (PCR) material is dissolved in a solvent followed by a series of purification steps to separate the polymer from additives and contaminants. The material is fed into a polymerization reactor train and the result is a PS polymer with 30 percent PCR content for use in applications including consumer electronics, packaging, and food contact applications if a functional barrier is present to ensure compliance.
According to Trinseo’s Plastics Circularity manager, Julien Renvoise, STYRON™ CO2RE™ 687DI30 Polystyrene supports a circular economy. “By reclaiming used plastic, we can make sure that a material that otherwise might have ended up as post-consumer waste not only is reused productively but contributes to sustainable manufacturing and a positive impact on the environment.”
15% Reduction in CO2 Emissions
To measure impact, Trinseo compared a general-purpose polystyrene produced with 100 percent fossil fuel with a batch made from 30 percent post-consumer recycled content in a lifecycle assessment and found a 15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions. In another study Trinseo found that performance properties remained similar. This includes transparency, a difficult property to achieve with recycled content.
Dissolution is a physical recycling approach for PS that preserves the molecular structure of the recyclate. Trinseo has been focused on finding ways to recycle PS due to the polymer’s unique capacity for full circularity including its intrinsic capability to be fully recycled into the constituent monomer.
Recycled PS is just one of Trinseo’s sustainable materials aimed at circularity. The company also is involved with depolymerization with technology provided by partner, Recycling Technologies, and plans to build a dedicated plant at its Tessenderlo, Belgium location. This will be one of two polystyrene recycling plants in Europe estimated to add a total of 30,000 tons of polystyrene feedstock into the European marketplace.