COLOGNE, Germany — Recycled styrene from plastic waste streams has the capability to be upcycled into raw materials for tires, according to Sandra Hofmann, global technology and innovation director, synthetic rubber, Trinseo S.A.
"The question (in the tire industry) is how to transform from a linear production model to something which enables the circular economy," Ms. Hofmann said during a presentation at the Future Tire Conference 2019, held June 11-12 in Cologne.
Polystyrene, according to Ms. Hofmann, has "a very unique feature" in that it can be readily depolymerized to its styrene monomer.
Around 800,000 metric tons of virgin polystyrene materials are produced in Europe each year, Ms. Hofmann said, noting that the European Plastics Strategy will require that 60% of the region's plastics packaging be recycled by 2030. That, she said, would generate "a lot of feedstock" for the various applications.
"We have a stream of recycled styrene which can go to packaging or, in my view, be upcycled as feedstock for making tires and SSBR (solution-styrene butadiene rubber)," she added.