AmSty towards recycled Polystyrene

AmSty aims to produce its food packaging and single-use products for catering by using 25% of recycled materials.


Polystyrene is a versatile plastic used to manufacture a huge variety of products. Since it is hard and solid, it is often used in products that require accuracy, such as food packaging and laboratory ware. It is also used to make appliances, electronics, automobile parts, toys, gardening pots and equipment. In that case it can be combined with various colorants, additives or other plastics.

Polystyrene is also made into a foam material, called expanded polystyrene (EPS) or extruded polystyrene (XPS), which is valued for its insulating and cushioning properties. Foam polystyrene can be more than 95% air and is generally used to make home and appliance insulation, lightweight protective packaging, surfboards, foodservice and food packaging, automobile parts, roadway and road bank stabilization systems and more.

Polystyrene is made by polymerizing styrene, that means that styrene monomers are agglomerated to form chains of molecules. Styrene can also be found naturally in strawberries, cinnamon, coffee and beef.

All food packaging, glass, aluminium, paper and plastics (such as polystyrene), contains substances that can “migrate” in very tiny amounts to foods or beverages. In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulates all food packaging materials, including polystyrene, to be confident that the amount of substances that might actually migrate is safe.

AmSty, an American productor of styrenic resins headquartered in Texas, announced its engagement to produce polystyrene food packaging and single-use catering products by using 25% of recycled materials by 2030. This will be possible through the chemical recycle of styrene-based waste.

In November 2018 AmSty and Agilyx created a joint-venture, Regenyx, for chemical recycle of polystyrene waste. Through a depolymerization technology developed by Agilyx, it can be obtained styrene liquid monomer, which can be used to produce polystyrene without damaging its physical and mechanic properties and that can be re-used for products in contact with food (PolyUsable). Therefore, in order to obtain it ecological purpose, AmSty is going to replace virgin styrene with styrene liquid monomers.

Regenyx pilot installation is located in Tigard, Oregon, where 10 tonnes polystyrene waste get processed daily and delivered to AmSty as recycled styrene monomers. But the joint-venture is planning to build a bigger installation in the US west coast, where they can recycle up to 50 tonnes of waste per day.

AmSty has also reached a deal with Ineos Styrolution (an US styrenic resins’ productor) to build an industrial plant for chemical recycle of polystyrene waste in Channahon, Illinois. According to this agreement, the industrial plant will use the depolymerization technology developed by Agilyx and have a processing capacity of 100 tonnes per day. Plastic waste will be provided by Cyclyx International, a company recently set up by Agilyx.

“Polystyrene is the only plastic resin material that can be converted back to a liquid monomer, making it simple to be re-formed into new, original-quality products. – Announced the vice-president of AmSty Polymers & Sustainability, Tim Barnette - As disposable items are needed, they should be made from the most sustainable material available. Now, perhaps more than ever, disposable items like food packaging, take-out containers and utensils are necessary as consumers focus on personal hygiene, health, and safety. Our customers require packaging that is both safe and sustainable, and we are committed to helping achieve their goals by restoring polystyrene through circular recycling.” .

Sources:

https://www.polimerica.it/articolo.asp?id=24638

https://www.polimerica.it/articolo.asp?id=21742

https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/polystyrene/

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