News Release

INEOS Styrolution receives public funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for a research project to recycle polystyrene post-consumer waste


Frankfurt, Germany

  • Aim to transition from a linear to a circular economy
  • Holistic approach to the recycling process
  • Process is based on “chemical recycling”

INEOS Styrolution, the global leader in styrenics, has been granted a funding from the German Federal Ministry (BMBF) for a research project regarding recycling of polystyrene. The project entails a technical feasibility study and the development of a holistic recycling concept in collaboration with waste management companies. The project also includes a commercial and an ecological evaluation of the recycling process.

INEOS Styrolution strives for a recycling process based on “chemical recycling”, thus aiming to achieve a true circular economy, where polystyrene waste is recycled into virgin, high-quality styrenic polymers. This specific approach to recycling is fundamentally different from incineration of polystyrene waste.

The project is funded as a joint project involving several institutions and research facilities. It will be executed with contributions from INEOS in Köln. Two institutes of the University of Aachen (RWTH) – the Institute for Processing and Recycling (Institut für Aufbereitung und Recycling, I.A.R.) and the Institute of Plastics Processing (Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung, IKV) – as well as Neue Materialien GmbH Bayreuth will support the project which is planned to run for three years.

Dr. Norbert Niessner, Director Global R&D/ Intellectual Property, is excited about the sanction of the project: “Significant efforts to develop processes for recycling plastic waste were made in the 1980s and 1990s already. However, industry-scale solutions were never implemented due to engineering challenges and for economic reasons. Increased challenges with growing amounts of waste, an increased awareness for the environment and the urge for sustainable solutions have led to a renewed interest in recycling again.”

Since the company was founded in 2011, INEOS Styrolution has focused on a series of sustainability initiatives. Since 2014, it has developed and executes a consistent company-wide sustainability program.  In that context, INEOS Styrolution publishes an annual sustainability report based on the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This reporting has resulted in a silver rating provided by EcoVadis, a leading, independent service provider for sustainability ratings.

Together with reputable European producers of polystyrene, INEOS Styrolution supports an initiative by PlasticsEurope driving innovative recycling of styrenic polymers with the objective to enable a circular economy for these plastics (see also: