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AmSty Problem-Solver Sees Great Promise in Plastics


Diana Rodriguez is excited about the future, particularly now that the mother of four grown children is a new grandma. Protecting our planet and making it better for her family and the generations to come is what drives AmSty's Latin America Sales Director to embrace innovation in polystyrene.

Armed with a background in biochemistry and an MBA, Diana has been involved in the polystyrene industry for nearly 35 years – that last 10 with AmSty – and she loves it.

"It was a complete match from the beginning," she said.

A match because Diana is a problem solver. She is well-aware that the plastics recycling system has improvements to make. In fact, in the U.S. only about 10 percent of all plastics are recycled, and globally only about 5 percent.

But she's fully confident AmSty can help solve the problem with innovations in polystyrene. Polystyrene is the most recyclable plastic by design – it's 95 percent air and has a lower environmental footprint than alternative materials.

"We can move forward as a society with plastics," said Diana.

How? AmSty is leading the way with circular recycling of used polystyrene products that may end up in the landfill, so that these are instead broken down to their most basic form and reformed to create similar products with the original pristine quality and durability.

"In other words, polystyrene can be infinitely recycled. It doesn't get more sustainable than that," she said.

The vision is that someday all plastics, not just polystyrene, are infinitely recycled through different technologies and that eventually plastic never ends up in the landfill or in our environment.

Two years ago, AmSty took a big step forward opening its Regenyx recycling plant in Tigard, Oregon. Regenyx converts polystyrene products to their liquid form to make new polystyrene. To date, Regenyx has converted more than two million pounds of used polystyrene to all-new material. That's equivalent to keeping more than 50-million foam cups, meat trays or takeout containers out of the landfill. AmSty also has expansion plans at U.S. facilities that will significantly increase circular recycling capacity.

AmSty has also pledged that all products designed for foodservice and food packaging applications will contain 30 percent recycled content by 2030 – a short eight years away.

Personally, Diana feels plastic products enable people to live a great life.

Polystyrene, in particular, plays a vital role in medicine, and has been instrumental during the pandemic. It's used in food packaging and disposable dinnerware and utensils, which today are more than simply a convenience, but a matter of health and safety.

"This hits me personally. I need plastic products and don't want to have to live without them," she said.

We don't have to, because of AmSty's efforts to move circular recycling forward.

Diana is fully aware that the goals are ambitious and that there continue to be public concerns about the use of plastics that weigh on her customers, too.

Polystyrene is all AmSty does and with its circular recycling process, it can assure customers that the future of polystyrene is bright and is led by a team of people committed to "get this right," said Diana.

"Our company culture is one where we walk our talk," she said. "We're solutions- and service-driven and do what we say we'll do. That's why our customers believe in us."

Diana is incredibly proud to be part of the plastics solution and proud to lead an AmSty team that, just like her, are problem solvers.

While Diana is well aware of the challenges, nothing will stop her drive.

"We're going to solve this problem and make a difference," she said.

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