SCS project closes loop on XPS food trays / Ireland includes XPS products in household waste collection / Canadian Polystyvert joins recycling initiative
Food trays made from high-purity rPS (Photo: Magic Pack)
A project in Italy has successfully proved that food trays made from extruded polystyrene (XPS) can be recycled into high-purity PS recyclate, which can be reused in new trays, Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS, Brussels; has announced.

The closed-loop, tray-to-tray recycling scheme was the result of a collaboration between Italian collection consortium Corepla (Milan;, SCS members Tomra (Asker, Norway; and Versalis (Milan;, Zimmermann Recycling & Transporte (Lahnstein, Germany; and Forever Plast (Milan;

Versalis performed a quality assessment to verify the purity of the PS recyclate, which Magic Pack, part of ProFood Italy (Milan;, has integrated in foamed PS food trays.

The recycled PS is used as a middle layer with virgin PS as a functional barrier, making it suitable for use in food contact packaging, a method ProFood has already commercialised. The foamed PS trays contain 50% reclaimed PS, are 100% recyclable, and can be recycled multiple times, according to SCS.

Related: SCS files first application for food contact authorisation

Jens Kathmann, secretary general of SCS, said the project’s success has positive implications far beyond Italy. “The proof that XPS food trays can be effectively and efficiently sorted, recycled, and returned even to its original food contact applications should inspire accelerated scale-up. It also confirms the market demand for rXPS trays, which should encourage others to follow the example of Italy.”

SCS highlighted several other projects related to recycling PS products, including French consortium PS25, which features food manufacturers and producer responsibility organisation Citeo (Paris; The group is funding a recycling scheme for yoghurt pots and meat and fish trays made from PS and XPS.

Svensk Plaståtervinning (Swedish Plastic Recycling, Motala; is building a facility called Site Zero to double its sorting and recycling capacity, as well as sorting all household plastics packaging waste, including PS and foamed PS (see of 07.09.2021).

Ireland has extended its plastics household waste collection to include XPS products, such as meat trays, and, since January 2021, Belgium’s PRO Fost Plus (Brussels; has expanded its “blue bag” collection scheme to include XPS food trays.
SCS welcomes Polystyvert
Canadian clean technology company Polystyvert (Montreal, Quebec; has become a member of SCS. Polystyvert has developed recycling technology based on dissolution, a method said to be effective for all styrenics, including PS, ABS, and SAN (see of 29.08.2018).

“Next to food grade mechanical recycling and depolymerisation, dissolution plays an important role as the styrenics value chain works together on scaling up food grade recycling of PS to meet market demand and contribute to the EU recycling targets,” Kathmann said, adding that the Canadian company has already worked with SCS members such as Coexpan (Madrid;
29.09.2022 [251253-0]
Published on 29.09.2022
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