This is the first step of a collaborative initiative aiming at testing the use of chemically recycled polystyrene in yogurt pots, supporting the development of sustainable PS recycling in France.
The test, led by Total in partnership with Intraplás, which works on the extrusion of plastic sheets for the food industry, and Yoplait, establishes chemical recycling as a potential route for polystyrene recycling in France.
Total said it is processing feedstock derived from post-consumer mixed plastic waste otherwise hard to recycle via existing recycling channels. By converting the secondary raw material in its steam cracker in Antwerp, Belgium, Total said it can produce certified chemically recycled polystyrene.
The produced certified circular rPS has the benefits of exhibiting virgin-like performance, thus enabling its incorporation in high-end applications, including food-grade packaging. This was demonstrated by Intraplás, which transformed Total's certified circular rPS into dairy sheets, and finally, by Yoplait, in yogurt pots.
The group said this is an important achievement in establishing chemical recycling as a valid route for polystyrene recycling and close the loop in dairy applications.
"This project is a great illustration of innovation and collaboration with Intraplás and Yoplait, which demonstrates our common commitment to make polystyrene circular for food-grade packaging. This marks a further milestone in addressing the challenge of the circular economy and achieving Total's ambition of producing 30% recycled polymers by 2030," said Valérie Goff, senior vice president, polymers, at Total.
This follows the announcement Total will be constructing France’s first chemical recycling plant on its future zero-crude platform in Grandpuits with Plastic Energy.
“We understand innovation as a strategic factor for sustainable development and involvement of the parties. In this way, we are very proud and satisfied for having managed to join the value chain of the food sector, in this specific project, which promotes the circular economy of polystyrene food packaging, guaranteeing the total safety of consumers,” said Anabela Ferreira, co-owner and executive member of Intraplás.
Frédéric Chapuis, sustainable packaging strategy manager at Yoplait, said, “We are glad to support this collective initiative as it demonstrates our ability to use certified circular rPS to produce yogurt pots. It is an important milestone in our journey to engage the value chain in creating a circular economy for polystyrene in France, and for our roadmap targeting 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.”