Polystyrene myth-busters set sights on Illinois

Ineos Styrolution and post-consumer plastics converter Agilyx are to establish a polystyrene (PS) chemical recycling facility in Channahon, Illinois (USA). The companies first announced plans to work together back in April 2018.

The facility will be capable of processing up to 100 tonnes per day of post-consumer PS and converting it into a styrene product that will go into the manufacturing of new PS products.

The facility will leverage Agilyx’s proprietary chemical recycling technology, which breaks PS down to its molecular base monomers that will be used for the creation of new styrenic polymers.

Agilyx recently completed a successful development programme for Ineos Styrolution that qualified the styrene product to Ineos’ specifications and the identified post-consumer PS feedstock for the process. The next phase of the project advances the engineering and design of the facility.

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be in this industry,” said Ricardo Cuetos, vice president of Ineos Styrolution Americas, Standard Products. “Agilyx’s chemical recycling technology is a game changer to advance the circular recycling pathway of plastics. A benefit of chemical recycling is there is no degradation over multiple cycles; the polymers can continue to create new products over and over again of the same purity and performance of virgin PS. This plant will dramatically increase recycling rates in the greater Chicago area, dispelling the myth that PS can’t be recycled.”

The Agilyx proprietary chemical recycling process can recycle PS contaminated with food and other organics and convert it back into new, food-grade plastics products or packaging.

“PS is the best option for prepared food and beverage containers. It provides cost-effective, high-quality packaging for food service applications,” said Joe Vaillancourt, Agilyx’s chief executive. “Alternative polymers chosen over PS experience low recycling rates, are less amenable to chemical recycling, with most of those plastics ending up in landfills.”