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Canada pushes polystyrene recycling to the next level

Plastics recycler Polystyvert is building its first full-scale commercial polystyrene recycling plant near Montreal, Canada.

Polystyvert is investing CA$ 40 million (EUR 27.6 million) in its plastics recycling hub. Once up and running, the facility will treat an estimated 9 000 tonnes of post-consumer and post-industrial scrap per year. Polystyrene has long been considered problematic due to the high level of contamination. Canada is no exception.

Polystyvert’s proprietary technology relies on ‘advanced purification’, enabling it to remove contaminants and yield high quality output. The recycled plastic is said to have identical physical and chemical characteristics to virgin resin. It can therefore serve the same applications while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%.

Innovation ‘crucial

Company president Nathalie Morin says Polystyvert will process the equivalent of 15% of the polystyrene landfilled in Quebec every year. She envisions the plant to be the first of many to be built worldwide. First, her company wants to boost plastics recycling in Canada.

‘We are extremely proud to reach this crucial moment in our history,’ Morin comments. ‘After several successful development phases, our technology has reached maturity. We can now recycle contaminated waste which used to have no other outlet than landfill sites.’

Today, the total plastics recycling rate in Canada is below 10%. Meanwhile, the nation generated 1.89 million tonnes of plastic packaging in 2019.

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