Solid Waste & Recycling

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Recycled polystyrene successfully converted into styrene


THE WOODLANDS, Texas – In keeping with its plan to develop a long-term sustainable model for plastics recycling, AmSty, a U.S.-based producer of polystyrene, is using recycled polystyrene, known as recycled styrene monomer (RSM), as feedstock for its world-scale styrene production facility in St. James, Louisiana.

This step marks the first time a plastics producer has successfully produced high-purity ASTM styrene from polystyrene waste. AmSty president and CEO Brad Crocker is optimistic about the recycling process and its future applications.

“This is yet another successful milestone in our PolyUsable process to ensure no single-use items made from AmSty polystyrene ever need to be landfilled,” he said.

In November 2018 AmSty signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Agilyx, which turns difficult-to-recycle mixed waste plastic streams into high value low carbon circular feedstocks and fuels, in which Agilyx will supply the feedstock. The material delivered from Agilyx to the AmSty facility in St. James, Louisiana, is in accordance with an offtake agreement between the two companies.

Once the RSM is processed, it will go to an AmSty polystyrene production facility to be converted into polystyrene pellets, the building blocks for both solid and foam products used in food service packaging such as cups, plates, take-home containers and many other innovative products.

Joe Vaillancourt, CEO of Agilyx, said, “This is another major milestone for the advancement of the circular economy. Our partnership with AmSty remains a great example of how we can come together to help change the waste and recycling industry to dramatically improve the recyclability of plastics, particularly polystyrene, with a favorable environmental profile.”

Agilyx has developed the first system capable of recycling polystyrene waste into styrene monomer, which is then used to remake new polystyrene (“PS”) products. The company also has commercialized a technology that converts mixed plastics to high quality crude oil. Agilyx is working with waste service providers, municipalities, refiners, and private and public enterprises to develop closed-loop industrial solutions for mixed waste plastics.