Trinseo, a global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, has announced that it will work with Coexpan, a Madrid-based company focused on sheet extrusion for the form fill seal (FFS) dairy markets in Europe, the United States and Central Asia, to “validate various polystyrene (PS) recycling technologies to develop polystyrene-containing recycled content that is fit for use in the global dairy industry’s FFS market." With materials and input supplied by Trinseo, Coexpan will test recycled polystyrene across various technologies at its Innovation Technology Center for Rigid and Flexible Packaging.
According to a news release from Trinseo, the dairy FFS packaging market, which has historically preferred the use of PS, has seen greater interest in alternative materials due to misconceptions around the circularity and recyclability of PS.
The companies describe recycled PS as a “game-changer” for the FFS market. They state that polystyrene offers “a unique potential for not only closed-loop recycling but also a lower carbon footprint and extended life cycle due to its simplicity and ease to fully recycle, giving polystyrene a major competitive advantage versus all alternatives.” Through the partnership, industrial volumes of the recycled PS for FFS markets will come online by the third quarter of 2022.
“We are very pleased to have established this collaboration with Trinseo, which will allow us to demonstrate the viability of mechanical and chemical recycling processes for polystyrene, a polymer with excellent properties in terms of efficiency and circularity in the food packaging market category,” says Dinis Mota, CEO of Coexpan. “As a global leader in FFS and thermoforming packaging solutions, working with Trinseo in this regard reinforces our joint sustainability actions. Coexpan is very excited about this collaboration. Having seen the crucial role plastic packaging has played this year in terms of food safety and hygiene, we view recycling and circularity as even more crucial. Our research center, Innotech, is constantly innovating with recycling and circularity in mind. We do not launch a product without first addressing circularity. This partnership provides a unique platform that reaffirms our goal of promoting and achieving a circular economy model.”
“We are very excited about the collaboration of Coexpan and Trinseo,” says Nicolas Joly, vice president of plastics and feedstocks at Trinseo. “This marks another major milestone on the way to seeing recycled polystyrene products on shelves. The unique recycling opportunity that polystyrene offers is now much more broadly recognized, and it is great to be able to collaborate with leaders along the value chain to further expand this recognition. Full circularity for polystyrene is imminent, and Trinseo is passionately committed to this, but such partnerships are key to accelerating the transition to circular economy and contributing to the European Commission’s recycling goal.”
According to Trinseo, the company’s full sustainability pledge in PS recycling covers mechanical, dissolution and chemical technologies with a commitment to close the loop on PS recycling by announcing a first-of-its-kind PS chemical recycling facility to be built in Europe. The company also is planning to offer an average of 30 percent recycled content to customers for PS packaging in Europe by 2025. In addition, the company is serving as a founding member of the Styrenics Circular Solutions consortium that explores new methods for PS recycling. Also, the company is partnering with the waste supply chain to identify new ways to increase the volume and quantity of plastics disposed and recovered through waste separation.