Canadian Plastics

Government of Canada invests in Montreal recycler Polystyvert

The $3.5-million investment is being made through the Sustainable Development Technology Canada foundation.

December 15, 2021   Canadian Plastics

Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry has confirmed an investment of $3.5 million in Montreal-based specialty recycling company Polystyvert through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

This is the second SDTC investment in Polystyvert and part of a what the government calls a “continuing collaboration” that is helping the company become a leader in the recycling of widely used synthetic plastics.

SDTC is a foundation created by the federal government to fund new clean technologies.

Polystyvert will use the investment to complete the scale-up of its patented recycling technology to enable the full circular economy of polystyrene, reducing greenhouse emissions and helping protect the environment. “Polystyrene materials, such as some food packaging, are rarely recycled or accepted in curbside collection programs – they are often incinerated or end up in landfills or, even worse, in our oceans and other natural areas, where these nonbiodegradable materials can cause major harm,” the government said in a news release. “They can and should be recovered and kept out of the environment, and Polystyvert is making a valuable contribution to the circular economy through its advanced recycling technology.”

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Polystyvert has developed a dissolution and purification process that accepts a wide range of recovered styrene plastics and removes contaminants, producing recycled polystyrene resins that can be used in many new products, from food containers to building materials.

“Since Polystyvert’s beginnings, the Government of Canada has been there to support the various stages of our technology’s development, from successful laboratory testing to the second-generation demonstration plant with a continuous process,” Polystyvert founder Solenne Brouard said in the statement. “The SDTC support announced today allows us to continue this collaboration and take the final steps towards the construction of our first full-scale commercial plant. This will allow Canada to develop a circular economy for polystyrene recycling while offering innovative solutions to meet its environmental protection and greenhouse gas reduction objectives.”

Founded in 2011, Polystyvert has developed a low-carbon-footprint process to recycle polystyrene based on a dissolution technology. Once dissolved, the process can mechanically and chemically separate contaminants and additives – including a wide range of hard-to-remove contaminants such as pigments and brominated flame-retardants – before finally separating the original polymer from the solvent. The end-product is then a cleaned polymer that can be used as new raw material resin again, to manufacture various categories of PS products, including food-grade applications.