Ineos Styrolution, a global styrenics supplier based in Frankfurt, Germany, has announced an agreement with Sirap, an Italy-based food packaging producer, to develop packaging solutions based on chemically recycled polystyrene. The solution aims at achieving circularity for postconsumer polystyrene, the company says in a news release announcing the project.
The joint project between Ineos Styrolution and Sirap focuses on the use of polystyrene that is recycled through depolymerization, a process that converts postconsumer polystyrene back into monomers. This agreement positions Sirap as a "first mover" in the polystyrene food packaging sector.
“The collaboration with Sirap as pilot leader in the XPS food packaging sector is a significant step in the right direction,” says Sven Riechers, vice president business management at Ineos. “It is exciting to work with a giant in the industry like Sirap. We are convinced that chemical recycling is the way forward to produce high-quality polystyrene while reducing postconsumer waste and reducing the use of valuable raw materials at the same time.”
The advantage of the process is the generation of high-quality virgin polystyrene for food-grade use. This means that recycled polystyrene will have the same properties as the initial polystyrene, including complying with stringent food contact regulations.
Ineos Styrolution and Sirap have agreed on an ambitious time schedule, with first samples of recycled polystyrene from lab-scale facilities being analyzed in 2019.
“Sirap will act as pilot leader within a wide group of XPS packaging producers,” says Stefano Lazzari, chief executive officer of Sirap. “We have been engaged for years in redesigning our processes and products in harmony with the guidelines of the circular economy.”
Lazzari adds, “This particular project will bring the family of extruded polystyrene foam containers, which are light and high in performance, to a circular solution before the 2025 deadline, thus becoming one of the best products in term of environmental impact.”