Current recycling technology limits recyclability of used polystyrene products into high-value second life items, so discarded polystyrene products frequently end up in a landfill.
Converting used polystyrene products back into their original feedstock form enables manufacture of brand-new products, without degradation in quality.
In 2019, Regenyx converted more than 800,000 pounds of polystyrene waste into recycled styrene monomer – equivalent to about 30 million foam cups. Today the total amount of recycled product exceeds 1 million pounds.
AmSty’s long-term vision is for no used polystyrene product ever to be landfilled, but to be captured and reused again and again. In April 2019, AmSty and Agilyx formed a joint venture, called Regenyx – a first-of-its kind chemical recycling facility in Tigard, Oregon, designed to make that goal a reality.
The company converts post use polystyrene products back into their original feedstock form, recycled styrene monomer or RSM. Once the solid polystyrene material is de-polymerized into liquid RSM, it can be re-polymerized through AmSty’s standard process and formed into new products, without degradation of quality or value. Agilyx’s technology deployed in the Regenyx facility can process nearly any level of contamination, and the resulting RSM can be refined by AmSty into new products that are FDA-certified for food-contact.
Regenyx began processing polystyrene into RSM in early 2019, with shipments going to AmSty shortly afterward. By mid-2019, RSM was being processed back into new polystyrene, completing a truly circular recycling loop. In 2019, Regenyx converted approximately 800,000 pounds of polystyrene into recycled styrene monomer – equivalent to about 30 million foam cups or 26 million restaurant takeout containers.
Phase 2 of the project is to develop a larger regional facility to increase recycling scale and access to waste. Early evaluations have already begun to identify options for the plant, optimizing material conservation and downstream supply chain logistics.
Additional project goals include increasing polystyrene collection at the curbside level and improving MRF capacity for polystyrene sorting and recycling. Working towards those goals, AmSty has made investments in the Foam Recycling Coalition’s densifier grant program managed through the Food Packaging Institute. In addition, AmSty is working with major metropolitan public service departments to capture discarded polystyrene streams for processing at Regenyx, bringing polystyrene recycling access to millions of additional residents.