Innovative PolyStyreneLoop Plant Will Recycle Polystyrene Foam Demolition Waste and Recover Valuable Resources
A new recycling plant in the Netherlands will recycle expanded polystyrene (EPS) demolition waste and also handle a legacy additive.
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The PolyStyreneLoop recycling plant in Terneuzen, Netherlands, is scheduled to open on the 16th of June. The plant was built to prove the technical and economic feasibility of a large-scale, closed-loop solution for the recycling of EPS waste.
The PolyStyreneLoop facility will recycle EPS insulation using a physical recycling process based on the CreaSolv® Technology. This technology will turn EPS foam demolition waste from building and construction insulation (B&C) from the Netherlands, Germany and other countries into new high quality raw material. All kinds of impurities, such as cement or other construction residues, as well as the legacy additive HBCD, will be safely removed and valuable bromine recovered.
“This plant showcases how the EPS industry is always looking for ways to boost its recycling capabilities,” said Lein Tange, Co-Director of PolyStyreneLoop. “The purpose of this plant is to pave the way for the construction of similar EPS recycling plants in the rest of Europe.”
The legal structure of the plant, which benefited from a European Union LIFE programme grant, was also unique. It has been built by the PolyStyreneLoop Cooperative, a Dutch non-profit organisation whose members comprise more than 70 industry representatives from the whole polystyrene foam value chain.
The Terneuzen plant will have the capacity to recycle 3,300 metric tonnes of polystyrene foam demolition waste coming from B&C per year, validating the technical, economic, and environmental viability of a new recycling process in which polystyrene foams containing HBCD can be fully integrated in the circular economy rather than being lost from circularity.
“It’s a real plus that the plant can not only take care of current recycling waste but also legacy recycling waste,” said Jan Noordegraaf, co-director of the plant. “Moreover, we can do this with about the same energy input as mechanical recycling and the energy we use comes solely from windmills.”
The PSLoop plant will demonstrate the possibility of infinite recycling of EPS B&C waste. Later, it will also recycle extruded polystyrene, or XPS, also known as StyrofoamTM .
EPS is a lightweight foam composed of 98% air and 2% technology with outstanding protective and thermal insulation properties. In addition to building and road construction uses, it is widely used in packaging to protect everything from heavy white goods to sensitive electronics, fresh fruit and vegetables, vaccines and even bees.
PolyStyreneLoop is a cooperative representing more than 70 companies from the polystyrene foam value chain. Its members include includes polystyrene raw material producers, foam manufacturers, additives suppliers, foam converters and recyclers as well as EUMEPS, the association and voice of European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene.
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