Innovative Plant to Recycle Polystyrene Foam Demolition Waste and Recover Valuable Resources Opens in the Netherlands
Terneuzen, the Netherlands — 16 June 2021— In a milestone for plastics recycling in Europe, a new recycling plant for expanded polystyrene (EPS) demolition waste opened today in Terneuzen, the Netherlands in the presence of the local mayor and industry representatives.
EPS is a lightweight foam composed of 98% air and 2% technology with outstanding protective and thermal insulation properties. It is widely used as an insulation material in buildings as well as in packaging to protect all type of goods. Until now it has been considered difficult to recycle because of impurities such as cement or other construction residues. The EPS itself is 100% recyclable.
The PolyStyreneLoop recycling plant was built to prove the technical and economic feasibility of a large-scale, closed-loop solution for the recycling of EPS demolition waste. It will initially recycle building & construction (B&C) waste from the Netherlands and Germany and turn it into new, high-quality insulation material. Later it will also take in demolition waste from other countries.
The legacy additive HBCD, as well as other kinds of impurities such as construction residues or cement, will also be safely removed while recovering valuable bromine.
“We are thrilled that this plant is now operational after many years of hard work,” said Lein Tange, Co-Director of PolyStyreneLoop. “It brings us one step closer to closing the loop on EPS recycling in Europe.”
The plant is able to recycle 3,300 metric tonnes of polystyrene foam demolition waste coming from B&C a year, thus validating the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of a new recycling process in which polystyrene foams containing HBCD can be fully integrated in the circular economy instead of being lost from circularity. Later, it will also recycle extruded polystyrene, or XPS.
“This plant is an asset for the Netherlands and Europe,” said Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven in a video message. “PolyStyreneLoop is a great example of value creation, and it is starting a giant flywheel and a business model that deserves to be propagated; and it will be.”
“It’s wonderful to have this flagship recycling plant in our community,” Terneuzen MayorErik van Merrienboer said at the official opening. “I hope this new plant will contribute to more sustainable building renovation.”
PolyStyreneLoop’s legal structure is also unique. Its members comprise more than 70 industry representatives from the whole polystyrene foam value chain. It was built by the PolyStyreneLoop Cooperative with support from a European Union LIFE programme grant.
At the end of the event, Jan Noordegraaf, Co-Director of PolyStyreneLoop expressed his gratitude to ICL-IP, Lanxess, BEWi Circular, EUMEPS, Rabobank, Synthos, IVH, Rygol, Kingspan, FSDE, Philippine, HSV and Sunpor Kunststoff , for sponsoring the event.
PolyStyreneLoop is a cooperative representing more than 70 companies from the polystyrene foam value chain. Its members include includes polystyrene raw material producers, foam manufacturers, additives suppliers, foam converters and recyclers as well as EUMEPS, the association and voice of European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene.