The Polystyreneloop cooperative has officially opened its recycling plant for waste polystyrene insulation foam in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, on 16 June. The facility has the capacity to recycle 3,300 tonnes of expanded polystyrene (EPS) waste from demolition and renovation projects a year, including material containing the legacy brominated flame retardant HBCD.
The facility uses the CreaSolv technology developed by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging. According to Polystyreneloop, it enables the PS to be recycled in a closed loop to produce new insulation products while removing the HBCD additive. The HBCD-containing residue is treated in the hazardous waste incinerator at ICL’s Terneuzen site, which is equipped with a bromine recovery unit. ICL will use the recovered bromine in producing new brominated polymeric flame retardants.
Polystyreneloop says it is also developing on a solution for extruded polystyrene (XPS) produced before 2002 using CFCs and (H)CFCs as blowing agents, which results in the foam being classified as hazardous waste. Polystyreneloop is working on a pre-treatment process for this waste stream allowing the safe release and capture of the (H)CFCs before the XPS is treated in the Creasolv process.
The Polystyreneloop is a non-profit organisation under Dutch law and currently has 74 members from the PS foam value chain. The construction of the recycling plant and development of the collection network for foam waste was supported by the EU's LIFE programme.