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AmSty Sustainability Milestones Showcase Innovative Spirit

Richard-Shaw-AmSty

By Richard Shaw, Director, Circular Economy & Sustainability

AmSty is a leading producer of polystyrene and styrene monomer. In other words, we make plastic – a material that enhances our everyday lives in many ways, from food packaging, medical supplies and bike helmets that keep us safe to refrigerators and insulation that keep us comfortable.

With that comes tremendous responsibility to develop solutions that keep our products out of landfills and our environment. It's a responsibility we take seriously and that is reflected in our innovation and continued progress.

We're proud to be a pioneer in the idea of plastic circularity. Celebrating our 15th year in 2023, Amsty charted an early path in the recycling of polystyrene and continues today to advance new technologies and partnerships for a sustainable future.

Learn more about AmSty's journey in our new sustainability report "Driving Sustainable Change."

SUSTAINABILITY MILESTONES

For 10 years we've been developing innovative solutions to recycle polystyrene and other plastics.

Among our sustainability milestones, in 2013 we designed and implemented a process at our Allyn's Point, Connecticut, plant to recycle polystyrene post-consumer waste.

We work with supply chain partners to collect the waste and dissolve it into recycled feedstock. It's then combined with fresh styrene to create polystyrene. The end product is a blend of recycled and virgin polystyrene that customers use for a variety of applications. We're proud that we have recycled over 25 million pounds of polystyrene since 2014 and set a new annual record in 2022 approaching five million pounds per year, exceeding the previous annual record by 55 percent.

Continuing on our innovation journey, in 2018 we partnered with Agilyx – a plastics recycling technology company – to create the Regenyx joint venture in Tigard, Oregon, to advance an approach that breaks down post-consumer polystyrene into its basic molecular compounds. That liquid is used to create new products with the same quality and durability as the original – a circular recycling process.

Building on those successes, in 2022 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Encina Development Group, which will provide the opportunity for AmSty to purchase up to 250,000 tons per year of circular feedstock from their facilities. And we plan to enter into additional agreements as each new Encina plant comes online.

We continue pursuing technologies and partnerships to accelerate the pace of polystyrene recycling.

CERTIFICATION

As a pioneer in developing plastic recycling solutions, we've embraced that same spirit to improve the transparency and credibility of plastic recycling.

We are the first U.S. company to work with the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) organization – a globally recognized expert in certification systems – to apply their third-party verification called ISCC PLUS to recycled plastics. ISCC PLUS. All of our plants are certified to ISCC PLUS standards. We remain an active member of ISCC and are working closely with customers to develop certified, recycled polystyrene for their businesses.

Through this verification, customers purchasing ISCC PLUS-certified material can take comfort that the recycled polystyrene we manufacture is done in strict accordance with the sustainability guidelines of a globally recognized and respected organization.

THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS

While we've made tremendous progress, there's still work to do.

To achieve plastic recycling goals, we need a regulatory framework that promotes the collection of plastic waste and the manufacturing capability to repurpose it into new plastic and other products. AmSty believes in the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) and is engaged in constructive dialogue with stakeholders on reasonable EPR solutions. We need a variety of tools in the recycling toolkit to accelerate progress. It's essential that regulators recognize and support the use of all recycling technologies.

We will continue engaging with other stakeholders to build out the scientific record and ensure it's an important consideration in public policy.

CLIMATE-FRIENDLY SOLUTIONS

As we look to the future, we're working to understand the full carbon story of polystyrene to ensure it is considered in ongoing efforts to mitigate climate change. A recent McKinsey study noted that virgin polystyrene and other plastics often emit less greenhouse gases (GHG's) compared to alternative products when viewed over the entire life cycle. Recycled plastic is even better, often emitting 70% less GHG's than virgin plastic when compared to standard end of life options like incineration or landfill.

Because of the life-enhancing features of polystyrene and its inherent efficiency as a material, we believe the most sustainable solution when all facts are considered, is to recycle and repurpose it. To that end, we've committed to a goal of 30% recycled content in our food packaging and foodservice products by 2030, as a first step on the journey to recycle all polystyrene.

We're excited about how far we've come and about a future we envision where all polystyrene – and eventually all plastic – is recycled in a circular way. We will continue to innovate and fulfill our unwavering commitment to a more sustainable future – for our customers, consumers and our planet.

I encourage you to learn more in AmSty's latest sustainability report, "Driving Sustainable Change."

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