France-based Total has collaborated with Citeo, Saint-Gobain and the French Union of Fresh Dairy Product Manufacturers (Syndifrais) to create an industrial-scale polystyrene recycling channel in the country.
The agreement is in line with the French Government’s Circular Economy Roadmap, as well as European Union objectives related to plastic recycling.
The partners will work on validating the technical and cost feasibility of the recycling channel within 18 months.
Stakeholders in the polystyrene consumer packaging value chain are focused on finding a recycling solution to create a circular economy for these products.
Total stated that challenges include packaging collection, the development of technical recycling solutions, and identifying uses for the recycled polystyrene.
Citeo will assist French fresh dairy product manufacturers in organising the separation, sorting and preparation of post-consumer polystyrene from the country’s extended household waste sorting programme.
This will enable the creation of a recycling channel for polystyrene packaging.
Syndifrais will also leverage the project’s technical findings to work on making enhancements to the eco-design of packaging in an effort to facilitate recycling.
The sorted and prepared polystyrene will be sent to Total for use in its plastic production units in Carling, France, and Feluy, Belgium.
The end product obtained is expected to be compliant with the same specifications as virgin polystyrene, which is used for food packaging and insulation.
Last year, Total trialled its polystyrene recycling technology.
The company will now focus on validating all the aspects of large-scale production, with the goal of achieving 4,000t of output containing at least 20% recycled polystyrene for next year.
Total will contribute its research and development resources towards the project.
Saint-Gobain’s subsidiary Placoplatre collects unwanted insulation made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) at construction sites and reuses it in production.
The company also aims to promote the use of raw materials featuring recycled content.
The partners intend to benefit from Placoplatre’s familiarity with the insulation market to validate technical and commercial specifications, as well as identify new commercial markets for recycled EPS products.