Enabling a circular economy for styrenics
We strive to provide sustainable solutions to our customers and end-consumers by taking a responsible approach to our product portfolio across the entire value chain.
To enable a circular economy for styrenics, we take a holistic approach to looking at our entire value chain. Our aim is to create sustainable styrenics solutions that have the product performance and properties on par with conventional solutions – for all applications using styrenics today and in the future. Together with customers and the scientific community, we engage in collaborative innovation of cutting-edge sustainable products. By driving product stewardship and quality management, we ensure compliance with product regulations and deliver safe, best-quality and high-performance products to our customers. Together with associations and our business partners, we strive to achieve high and well-acknowledged sustainability standards in the styrenics industry.
Instead of disposing polystyrene and other styrenics products after a single use, a tangible solution is to close the loop to contribute to a circular economy: collect plastic waste, sort it, recycle this valuable resource and use it again as a raw material to produce polystyrene and other styrenics products. The entire styrenics industry has undertaken a significant amount of effort to analyse, plan, and develop these recycling processes. Investments are underway to make this a reality and to unlock the true potential of styrenics in the circular economy.
Contributing to a circular economy for styrenics
Our sustainable products
We are committed to providing our customers with the best solutions for their business. INEOS Styrolution ECO, our new family of sustainable styrenics solutions comprises products made from recycled post-consumer plastic waste as well as materials based on renewable feedstock.
As this new product range matches the performance of our existing product portfolio, it will reduce our greenhouse gas footprint, reduce the amount of post-consumer waste going to landfill, support the recycling of post-consumer plastic waste, and help our customers meet their sustainability targets.
The sorting of plastics waste is the essential step in the waste management of mixed plastics waste streams. Effective sorting and washing of plastics waste can divert this valuable resource from either incineration or landfill to deliver material with the required quality and specifications needed for recycling.
With new innovative NIR technology and state-of-the-art washing, high-quality recycled polystyrene is now technologically feasible, and we are currently aiming to get recycled polystyrene with a purity of 99.9% plus out of household waste. This will ensure a consistent and high-quality supply of material that can then be recycled.
As part of our efforts to bring high-quality recycled ABS to the market, we have identified various waste sources. This, in combination with state-of-the-art sorting technology and our manufacturing expertise can help us deliver a consistent, high quality of recycled ABS.
Polystyrene is not only a versatile, aesthetic and durable material; it is also one of the most recyclable polymers. Its unique properties allow it to be recycled using several different technologies from mechanical recycling to advanced recycling methods. These technologies offer recycled polystyrene with no sacrifice in properties, enabling food-contact applications and nearly infinite recycling cycles. All the technologies complement each other and will be needed depending on the quality of input waste and the requirements of the final products, with each technology having a different environmental impact. Therefore, we are actively pursuing the development of all these technologies in parallel to reach the recycling quota for polystyrene and offer this recycled material to our customers by 2025.
Click here to read more about our how polystyrene is made for recycling.
Mechanical recycling is a method by which plastic waste is physically processed back into pellets, without changing the basic structure of the material. This method can generate new polymer blends or grades that come very close to virgin polymer performance.
Terluran® ECO, our first standard ABS grades with post-consumer recycled material is now available commercially. The two new grades Terluran® ECO GP-22 MR50 and Terluran® ECO GP-22 MR70 contain 50 and 70 percent of recycled post-consumer waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), respectively. These recycled ABS solutions match the mechanical property profile of our virgin GP ABS grades and can be used as a drop-in solution by our customers.
Mechanical recycling is the best available and proven technology to reuse end-of-life plastic waste on a short to medium term, and is currently the most feasible option for ABS. As this process is less energy-intensive, it has a much lower carbon footprint in comparison to conventional production processes and will reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill and incineration.
Using renewable resources
As part of our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint and save valuable resources, both for our company as well as for our customers, we are offering the integration of renewable feedstock as a replacement for fossil fuel in upstream existing petrochemical installations.
We only source feedstock that does not compete with food and complies with the highest sustainability certification criteria. As the renewable feedstock gets mixed with fossil feedstock during the production process, we cannot guarantee a dedicated concentration of bio-based material in the end-product. Therefore, we attribute an equivalent amount of the renewable feedstock to the end product. The Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) has fully certified that the processing of bio-based feedstock along the entire supply chain is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and credibly sourced, according to the extremely robust principles of their sustainability standard.
RSB Certification demonstrates that our commitment to sustainability is carried through our handling of bio-attributed feedstock and our broader supply chain, ensuring that we manage our operations in line with the highest legal, environmental, social and management requirements.
This certification has been awarded following an extensive audit of our production site in Antwerp, Belgium in 2019. We plan to extend the certificate to include our site in Ludwigshafen, Germany in 2020.This approach allows us to create more sustainable supply chains, while retaining our already optimised and highly efficient infrastructure and processes, and is our way to contribute to a bio-economy in addition to all our other efforts on circularity.
INEOS Styrolution now offers two bio-attributed versions for all Styrolux and Styroflex grades produced in Antwerp:
– The B60, where 100% of the fossil-based styrene is replaced by bio-attributed styrene.
– The B30, where 50% of the fossil-based styrene is replaced by bio-attributed styrene.
The use of bio-attributed styrene offers us 74% lower greenhouse gas footprint when compared to styrene produced by fossil fuel. For our customers, this approach presents a “drop-in” solution with identical product quality and properties and therefore does not require product development or new registration and regulatory approvals.
The attribution approach is aimed as our short-term offering to customers to contribute to sustainability in addition to our recycled products. This approach will be key for chemical recycling as well: by allocating chemically recycled materials into petrochemical installations as a raw material. Through an extensive collaboration along the value chain, we believe this can significantly contribute to a lower greenhouse gas footprint and encourage the use of renewables.
Click here to read more about how we enable a circular economy for styrenics.