JUNE 12, 2023 UNIQUE RECYCLING SOLUTION FOR EPS INSULATION MATERIALS LAUNCHED
The first industrial plant for recycling EPS insulation materials goes into regular operation this summer: the innovative CreaSolv® Technology enables PSLoop to recycle HBCD-containing polystyrene foams on an industrial scale and testifies to the industry's great innovative strength.
After the German EPS Converters (GEC) Group rescued the Dutch PolyStyreneLoop plant from insolvency last year, it has now been able to go into regular operation. The plant, which has since gone by the name PS Loop, is the first industrial facility for recycling flame-retarded EPS insulation materials from demolition and renovation work.
"It was a tough job to get the plant ready for regular operation," says Holger Lübke, managing director of Karl Bachl Kunststoffverarbeitung GmbH &. Co. KG and one of the shareholders of GEC Group. "For the future, this is an important step to fulfill our responsibility as an insulation manufacturer also in recycling."
In 2022, GEC Group had rescued the Dutch plant from insolvency, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of GEC Group. More than € 17 million was invested in the construction of the plant. The project is supported by partners from business as well as subsidies from the European Union and the Province Zeeland, "because the public interest in an industry solution was and is great," explains Guido Brohlburg, Managing Director of Brohlburg Dämmstoff- und Recyclingwerke and also a shareholder in the GEC Group.
HBCD has been used as a flame retardant in foam insulation boards since the 1960s and was long considered the best solution for implementing national fire safety regulations. However, alternative flame retardants are now being used, as HBCD was banned in 2016. This ban also meant that tens of thousands of tons of polystyrene (PS) foam waste containing HBCD could no longer be recycled as usual. Thanks to PS Loop's innovative recycling concept, it is now possible to recycle HBCD-containing PS foam on an industrial scale. The result is a fully recycled PS raw material that is used for the production of new EPS insulation products. Together with ICL, the process also aims to recover bromine as an important resource
The physical recycling process currently allows Terneuzen to recycle 3,000 tons of HBCD-containing material in 2024. The maximum expansion stage is 8,000 tons per year. This reduces CO₂ emissions by up to 50 percent and protects the environment and climate.
"In a circular economy, we want to use resources like polymers for as long as possible and separate them after the end of their life so that they can be reused as new materials. The success of this project and the extensive use of this innovative technology will surely lead to a roll out in Europe. PS Loop’s CreaSolv® Technology is undoubtedly the best technology currently available for recycling the growing volumes of PS foam waste." according to Reinhard Pfaller, Managing Director of Rygol Dämmstoffe, the third shareholder in the GEC Group.