First production of virgin polystyrene from only depolymerised material - first chemically recycled polystyrene

Breakthrough in chemical recycling of polystyrene

INEOS Styrolution, a global leader in styrenics, has completed the first successful test runs producing virgin polystyrene from previously depolymerized material. These experiments, completed at the company’s Antwerp site in Belgium, can be seen as the practical proof of the recyclability of polystyrene.

A lab-scale quantity of general purpose polystyrene produced from 100% recycled styrene monomer by INEOS Styrolution in Antwerp signals a game changer in polystyrene production. The material is the result of experimental polystyrene production runs with styrene monomer feedstock produced from depolymerisation of styrenic plastic. The tests – done in cooperation with commercial partners and universities – resulted in the production of virgin material with the same product properties as polystyrene produced from new styrene monomers.

“We are very excited having achieved this breakthrough,” comments Michiel Verswyvel, Global R&D Expert. “Due to its relatively clean decomposition into its building blocks, polystyrene is almost designed to be recycled. Within our global project team we are working to make this a stable process on a commercial level, by learning, for example, more about purity requirements of the feedstock material,” he adds.