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INEOS: Strategic partnership with Pyrowave / PS recycling project in North America

Ineos Styrolution America, the North American subsidiary of Ineos Styrolution (Frankfurt / Germany; www.ineosstyrolution.com), has become the first polystyrene producer to join a Canada-based consortium dedicated to demonstrating the recyclability of post-consumer PS and EPS packaging using the catalytic microwave depolymerisation (CMD) technology of Pyrowave (Oakville, Ontario; www.pyrowave.com). The Canadian company, which bills itself as a pioneer in microwave-based plastics recycling, said the project is planned to eventually include players from all along the PS value chain.

The technology resulting from eight years of research and development has received continuous support from Canadian organisations, including Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and Transition Énergétique Québec (TEQ). According to Pyrowave, the principal advantage of the “unique” process that “unzips plastics back into their initial constituents” is its modularity. This allows it to be installed and operated in existing sorting facilities, similar to other recycling equipment. Small, modular units can be placed directly onsite at recycling facilities and at producers of plastic waste.

Pyrowave currently operates one commercial-scale machine at a facility in Montréal, Québec / Canada, producing what it said is the world’s first recycled styrene monomer (RSM) from post-consumer polystyrene waste. The output is sold to large polymers producers. The technology is claimed to generate high yields of monomer with very low energy consumption. Other advantages, Pyrowave said, are that it enhances the rate and the range of recyclable materials, reduces logistics costs and produces higher-value end products from plastics waste, including recycled wax, oil and monomer.

The next phase of the project will be to deploy units in the field and demonstrate its business model. Both of the initial partners in the future consortium said they are committed to exploring ways for using and reusing plastics in a circular economy. The new project “shows strong leadership from the polystyrene industry that wants to improve the life cycle of polymer products,” said Pyrowave’s founder and CEO, Jocelyn Doucet.

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