The amount of EPS (expanded polystyrene) is a growing concern in light of its increased usage as lightweight packaging for food containers and foam cups, or as building material. As a result, millions of tons of EPS are being sent to landfills or incineration plants.
Conventional recycling methods of EPS waste are burdened by high transportation costs and low quality of the recycled polystyrene. Additionally, EPS waste coming from building material or insulation may contain hazardous flame retardants such as Hexabromcyclododecan (HBCD) that are not permitted to be reused.
We propose an alternative that physically recycles and reuses the EPS waste to produce high-quality raw material. During the process EPS is dissolved applying CreaSolv® followed by a multi-stage filtration. Subsequent precipitation allows for the production of high quality PS granulate while solvent and HBCD can be fully recovered. Further hazardous or undesired impurities are also removed and the final product is in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). Additionally, liquefaction of EPS can be carried out on a decentralized basis thus offering the potential to reduce transportation costs.