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Comment Sustainability

Trinseo and Fernholz commercialize recycled polystyrene for food packaging

By Mary Page Bailey |

Trinseo (Berwyn, Pa.) announced that it has developed a new grade of post-consumer recycled polystyrene, together with the German packaging manufacturer Fernholz. The latest Form Fill Seal (FFS) formulations incorporate 40% r-PS, depending on final application, thanks to Trinseo’s unique technology, which embeds the material into the polymerization process using solvent processes.

“With r-PS technology, we have developed a process that will help the plastics industry conserve resources and reduce oil consumption,” said Nicolas Joly, Vice President Plastics & Feedstocks at Trinseo. “We are very pleased to work with Fernholz as our collaboration partner to jointly respond to consumer and market expectations, offering companies a tangible solution for more sustainable packaging.”

Fernholz is working closely with Trinseo to incorporate r-PS into sheet production, which can be used for food packaging applications in compliance with food safety requirements. To date, full-scale field tests for processing, migration, sensory testing and other common parameters have revealed that r-PS can be readily processed on classic FFS machines, eliminating the need for costly equipment upgrades.

“The feedback we have received from customers so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Uwe Fernholz, Managing Director at Fernholz. “The market has been waiting for a solution like this for a long time. As a result of the positive feedback, we are very confident that this breakthrough in recycled packaging made from polystyrene will help the value chain to meet its sustainability goals.”

The new material grade is already being trialed by several European dairy companies, some of whom have already launched new products using the recycled polystyrene food packaging. As one of the few materials with PCR content available in large quantities, Trinseo has the capacity to supply the dairy industry and related sectors with several thousand tons of the material. Furthermore, due to the recycling technology involved in the process, mono-material packaging, though preferable, is not mandatory. The lid or label can be safely separated as part of the recycling process.

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