Ineos Styrolution and Agilyx develop Illinois polystyrene chemical recycling plant

Chicago-area facility will be capable of processing up to 100 tons of postconsumer PS per day.

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December 9, 2019

Ineos Styrolution, a global supplier of styrenics headquartered in Germany, and Agilyx, a postconsumer plastics recycler based in Tigard, Oregon, have announced they are developing a polystyrene (PS) chemical recycling facility in Channahon, Illinois.

The facility will be capable of processing up to 100 tons of postconsumer PS per day, converting it into a styrene product that will be used to make new PS products, according to a news release. The facility will leverage Agilyx's proprietary chemical recycling technology, which breaks down PS to its molecular base monomers to be used in the creation of new styrenic polymers.

"This is an incredibly exciting time to be in this industry," says 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 polystyrene. This plant will dramatically increase recycling rates in the greater Chicago area, dispelling the myth that polystyrene can't be recycled. We are thrilled to partner with Agilyx on this project."

Agilyx says it recently completed a successful development program for Ineos Styrolution that qualified the styrene product to Ineos' specifications and the identified postconsumer PS feedstock for the process. The next phase of the project advances the engineering and design of the facility.

The Agilyx proprietary chemical recycling process can recycle PS that is contaminated with food and other organics and convert it into new, food-grade plastic products or packaging, the news release says.

"Polystyrene is the best option for prepared food and beverage containers. It provides cost-effective, high-quality packaging for food service applications," says Joe Vaillancourt, Agilyx's CEO. "Alternative polymers chosen over polystyrene experience low recycling rates and are less amenable to chemical recycling, with most of those plastics ending up in landfills. We are excited to be working with Ineos Styrolution to advance this chemical recycling pathway that has the ability to significantly increase recycling rates all over the world."