Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 21

inside at... PolyStyreneLoop
The newly opened PolyStyreneLoop
plant in Terneuzen, the Netherlands.
Closing the
polystyrene
recycling gap
Over the past few years, the status of polystyrene has gradually been shifting:
from its reputation as an unrecyclable pollutant, it is now gaining recognition as an
'infi nitely' recyclable, valuable resource that is 'made for recycling'. A new plant
in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, opened in June that is demonstrating the circular
potential of recycled polystyrene foam.
P
olyStyreneLoop is an
extraordinary project,
both because of
the way it has been
organised as well as because it
successfully, eff iciently, and sustainably
provides a solution to a
very compelling, specific problem.
The construction and opening
of the plant in June represented
the culmination of years
of discussion, negotiations, development,
and sheer hard work.
Sustainable Plastics visited the
site on 14 June, just two days
before the off icial opening and
met with Lein Tange, one of the
directors at PolyStyreneLoop
and Alix Reichenecker, Circular
Economy Manager.
The plant has been built to
recycle only one type of product:
polystyrene foam insulation
boards from demolition waste.
These foam boards, made from
that needed to be filled, according
to Lein Tange, which is
precisely what this project will
do: by turning an unrecyclable
product for the first time into a
valuable circular plastic.
The PSLoop plant will initialLein
Tange
both extruded (XPS) polystyrene
foam and from expanded foam
polystyrene (EPS), are known for
their outstanding insulation and
shock absorbing abilities.
The main application for
EPS is packaging rather than
insulation. And while a great
deal of EPS packaging is already
quietly being recycled,
the situation for XPS and EPS
demolition waste is completely
diff erent. There is a gap here
ly mainly process EPS but will
start to handle XPS towards the
end of this year.
XPS is produced using a different
blowing agent than EPS.
The material has a closed cell
structure and is often stronger,
with a higher mechanical performance
and a density range
of about 28-45 kg/m3. It is resistant
to rotting, highly pressure-resistant,
and has long
been preferred for insulation
purposes. The issue around
both EPS and XPS demolition
waste is not the foam itself, but
the legacy additives incorporated
in the material, including the
flame retardant HBCD.
For many years, the flame retardant
of choice for applications
in the construction industry was
hexabromocyclododecane, or
HBCD, a product developed in
the 1960s. Eff ective at low level
and long considered the best
solution, due to health and environmental
concerns HBCD is
now instead considered a restricted
substance.
In 2013, the substance was
classified as persistent organic
pollutant (POP) under the UN
Stockholm Convention, which
meant that all countries signed
up to the treaty were required to
eliminate its use, manufacture,
and importation. The sunset
date for HBCD in Europe was in
2015. However, due to the long
service lives of products where
HBCD has mainly been used,
continued on page 22
August/September 2021
21

Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021

Contents
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover1
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover2
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Contents
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 4
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 5
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 6
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 7
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 8
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 9
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 10
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 11
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 12
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 13
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 14
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 15
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 16
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 17
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 18
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 19
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 20
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 21
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 22
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 23
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 24
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 25
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 26
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 27
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 28
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 29
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 30
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 31
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 32
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 33
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 34
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover3
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover4
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