- Oregon-based Agilyx Corp. has secured financing for a pyrolysis facility near Portland that will process up to 10 tons per day of polystyrene scrap, such as cups and packing materials, as reported by Recycling Today.
- Using a proprietary process, Agilyx will convert this polystyrene scrap into a liquid styrene monomer that can be sold to refiners. The facility will have the ability to deal with up to 5% contamination in the material stream.
- The facility could be expanded to 25 tons per day, or eventually 50 tons, and replicated in other parts of the country. Agilyx anticipates that production will be online by the second quarter of this year.
Agilyx had previously been known for its work converting plastics to crude oil, which has involved a partnership with Waste Management and work on a previous version of the Energy Bag pilot program for mixed household plastic. This latest announcement coincides with recent changes on the company's board of directors and plans for expansion. It has also been billed as one way to help achieve the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's goal of recycling 70% of the world's plastic packaging, which was recently endorsed at Davos.
While multiple companies are already handling polystyrene foam, with support from the industry-backed Foam Recycling Coalition, access is far from widespread. The material's light weight makes it challenging to transport cost-effectively, though new densification processes are helping to change that. The potential to replicate Agilyx's system in other parts of the country could help improve recycling access for more communities on a smaller scale.
Despite advances in recycling technology, a growing number of local governments have moved to ban or restrict sales of the material. Ordinances restricting the material have been passed in San Francisco, Seattle, both Portlands and elsewhere. New legislation was also introduced this month in Maryland that would be the first statewide ban in the country if passed.