The PolyStyreneLoop (PSL) Cooperative is the European EPS/XPS industry’s closedloop solution for the recycling of polystyrene (PS) insulation foam waste.
This innovative project employs a ground-breaking technology to dissolve PS foam waste while also allowing for the extraction and recovery of bromine from the recently restricted flame retardant chemical, HBCD, which can then be used again for the production of new flame retardants.
The PSL project will help the EU deal with an expected 20 million tonnes of insulation material that will need to be disposed of in the next 50 years. Recycling PS foam by the PSL process typically cuts 50% in CO2 emissions (compared to energy recovery). This is an additional contribution to resource efficiency at the end of life phase for PS foam insulation, on top of the CO2 emissions already saved by reducing energy consumption during the long use phase in the form of insulation of a building.
The PolystyreneLoop process, which has already been included in the UNEP Basel Convention as a best available recycling technology as well as best available organisation of an entire value chain. It is therefore a technical and an organisational innovative best practice.
The PolystyreneLoop initiative is funded through the entire value chain, is supported with a loan from RABO bank and has received a LIFE. The PolystyreneLoop Cooperative UA in Etten-Leur and PolystyreneLoop BV in Terneuzen were founded by ICL and Synbra Technology bv.
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In addition to being financially supported by the EU (LIFE), the PS supply chain (made up mostly of SMEs) has pulled together to raise the necessary equity to build the first demonstration plant in the Netherlands.
The PolyStyreneLoop demonstration plant aims to begin operations in 2018 and will have the capacity to treat up to 3300 tonnes of PS waste per year. Once up and running, the PolyStyreneLoop project will be able to cope with incoming PS foam waste streams and produce high quality recyclate that could be used in new PS foam insulation.
It intends to roll out the concept to at least all European countries and build plants there, statring in the most populated areas.