On 16 June 2021, the PolyStyreneLoop (PS-Loop) recycling facility in Terneuzen was ceremonially opened. HSV is a partner in this circular initiative that was launched in 2017.
EPS demolition waste and polystyrene (PS) foam containing HBCD is recycled at PolyStyreneLoop according to the innovative Solvent-Based Purification (SBP) process developed by CreaCycle GmbH and Fraunhofer IVV.
EPS is 100% recyclable
EPS demolition waste was previously classified as difficult to recycle, due to the presence of impurities such as cement or other construction residues. EPS itself is 100% recyclable. With the innovative SBP process, the former additive designated as HBCD and other impurities can now safely be removed, and valuable bromine can be recovered from the material.
Recycling EPS demolition waste: ecologically and economically viable
PolyStyreneLoop contributes to the circular economy by recycling EPS demolition waste into recyclate. With an annual recycling capacity of 3,000 tonnes of PS foam waste, PolyStyreneLoop provides a large-scale, closed-loop solution for recycling EPS demolition waste and offers a recycling programme at an industrial scale. It has now become ecologically and economically viable to fully integrate polystyrene foam containing HBCD within the circular economy. Valuable raw materials are preserved and environmental impact is reduced.
Recycling EPS demolition waste: the process
Using the Solvent-Based Purification (SBP) process, any HBCD present in the material is separated from the PS. The recyclate (Loop-PS) is then used as a raw material for the production of new insulation materials.
In the Bromine Recovery Unit, the bromine present in HBCD is recovered and the HBCD is safely destroyed. The released bromine is then reused in the production of new polymeric flame retardants, applied in insulation products manufactured with Loop-PS recyclate. More details can be found on the PolyStyreneLoop website.
Forms of EPS recycling, EPS decision tree
EPS is recycled in various ways. The EPS decision tree is a roadmap for EPS recycling in the Netherlands, created by Stybenex, the sector association of EPS processing companies in the Netherlands. HSV is a member of Stybenex and participates in initiatives developed and rolled out from the incentive programme, for the purpose of promoting EPS collection and recycling.
This decision tree aligns with the goals of the Dutch National Waste Management Plan, which aims to further minimise the environmental impact of recycling. In Lansink’s ladder [bottom of roadmap/download], you can see the forms of recycling and their environmental impact.
EPS, also known as airpop engineered air, tempex or styrofoam, is an expandable plastic that consists of 98% air and only 2% raw material. It can be reused and recycled over and over while retaining its valuable properties. As an applied material, EPS is a perfect fit for a circular economy.
The circular economy is a continuous cycle that preserves and increases natural capital, optimises resource yields, and minimises systemic risk.
Would you like to receive more information about sustainability at HSV or about recycling particle foams? Contact one of the particle foam engineers at HSV and ask your question.