Polystyrene, abbreviated to PS, is a type of plastic that is widely used in many areas of everyday life. PS is also often a component in packaging products, but there is currently still a lack of genuinely satisfactory alternative solutions for producers who want to address sustainability concerns. If Greiner Packaging and Trinseo have their way, this situation will soon change. Chemically recycled PS is one option that can be used in the future for both nonfood products and food packaging.
Trinseo (NYSE:TSE) is a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders, and synthetic rubber. In cooperation with Greiner Packaging, the company recently announced a collaboration to drive forward the use of recycled PS in packaging solutions. The initiative aims to demonstrate the circularity of PS by using r-PS to develop packaging materials that are then tested and checked for their quality characteristics.
Optimum closed-loop solution for polystyrene
“Trinseo is an expert partner we can work with to continue pushing the issue of recycling as regards PS,” explains Gernot Desch, Category Manager Plastics at Greiner Packaging. “Trinseo is a leader in the development of closed-loop solutions for PS and is involved in numerous initiatives that seek to close the loop in terms of PS recycling. And we at Greiner Packaging also support this transition to a circular economy in the plastics sector, so we’re eager to participate in projects that have this objective in mind.” Trinseo and its partners are currently planning the construction of a chemical recycling facility in Europe. By working together with various industries, it hopes to find new ways of increasing the amount of plastics being recycled.
“We are pleased to announce this collaboration with Greiner Packaging and are confident it will significantly boost our efforts to close the loop with recycled content,” stresses Nicolas Joly, Global Business Director Polystyrene and Feedstocks at Trinseo.
By increasing the prevalence of recycled polystyrene, we are making an important contribution toward achieving full circularity for PS. That’s our key objective.
Plastic solutions for a more livable future
“At Greiner Packaging, working to develop sustainable plastic solutions for a more livable future worldwide is part of our vision. We are aware of our responsibility toward the environment and society, and that is why all our product groups focus on sustainable actions and solutions for a functioning circular economy. We want our strategy to show that sustainability and plastics do not conflict with one another,” says Desch.
Full PS circularity offers unique opportunities for closed-loop recycling – and it even requires two fewer steps than the recycling of other polymers. The process used is known as depolymerization, which is an innovative technology for the recovery of PS and has already shown that it can convert polystyrene waste back into monomer form. Recycling PS is worthwhile on many levels as it results in less waste material being sent to landfill, which in turn leads to a reduction in greenhouse gases and harmful emissions.