Today’s Solutions: January 19, 2022

Did you know that styrene naturally occurs in foods like strawberries and cinnamon? It’s only when it’s combined with other chemicals to create packaging and foam insulation to protect fragile items in transit does it become polystyrene — that white, staticky, and virtually impossible-to-recycle material that we are all familiar with.

Polystyrene foam is 98 percent air, so it’s not cost-effective to store or ship. Fortunately, there’s a new recycling plant in Terneuzen, the Netherlands that has been built specifically to solve this issue and demonstrate that there is a way to effectively recycle expanded polystyrene waste (EPS) in a large-scale, closed-loop system.

The PolyStyreneLoop plant will start by recycling EPS foam insulation using a process based on a technology that transforms it into a new high-quality raw material. Any kind of contaminant, such as cement or glue residue, will be extracted while the bromine present in the polystyrene is recovered.

Lein Tange, co-director of PolyStyreneLoop, says, “The purpose of this plant is to pave the way for the construction of similar EPS recycling plants in the rest of Europe.”

This new EPS recycling plant has the capacity to recycle 3,300 metric tons of polystyrene foam demolition waste from the Netherlands, Germany, and other surrounding countries. Its success proves that polystyrene foams don’t have to sit in landfills, but can, in fact, be fully integrated into the circular economy.

As an added bonus, the plant only uses renewable wind energy to power its necessary machinery.

For now, since the PSLoop plant is still in its early days, it will focus on recycling EPS building and construction waste. Later on, it plans on recycling extruded polystyrene (aka Styrofoam), which is used to make disposable cups, plates, and packaging.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Sweden Combats Fake News with New Agency

The pandemic brought on a host of problems; however, it also gave us the opportunity to pay more attention to other issues that flew under the radar while we were busy getting through our hectic ... Read More

Virtual Reality Therapy Increases Comfort and Access

Why is VR therapy needed? Around 30 percent of people found it easier to talk about negative experiences using a virtual reality headset rather than face-to-face, according to a study carried out by The Edith ... Read More

This ingenious solution tackles food waste and insecurity at once

Food waste is a particularly infuriating problem because so much is wasted. According to nonprofit FoodPrint, almost 40 percent of all food in America, much of it still edible, is chucked out. All while at ... Read More

10 Reasons to Pick Up a Paintbrush: Good for your heart and soul

The cold winter weather combined with continuing concern for our health and safety during the pandemic may mean that many of us are opting to spend more time indoors these days. To keep boredom from ... Read More

Berlin plans to have the world’s largest car-free urban area

In recent years, many cities around the world have become much more aware of the plight of designing our urban spaces with a car-centric mentality. In Europe in particular, cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, and ... Read More

Scientists invent the fastest DNA sequencing tool yet

A record breaking technique A team from the Stanford School of Medicine has created a new method of mega-sequencing. Using this, individuals can have their three billion plus nucleotides read in just over five hours, ... Read More