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Non-recyclable polystyrene finds new life thanks to Anjou company

New tech gives polystyrene second life: video here!

Polystyrene, a type of plastic that isn’t so fantastic when it comes to recycling, is getting a second life thanks to Montreal-developed technology.

While polystyrene is used in things like Styrofoam and insulation, the City of Montreal doesn’t allow it be recycled. Solenne Brouard Gaillot, CEO of Anjou-based Polystyvert believes she has the solution.

“It’s the least recycled plastic, because of transportation issues, contamination issues and poor quality of the polystyrene that is currently recycled,” she said.

In Polystyvert’s process, the polystyrene is placed in a solvent that dissolves it. A machine then separates the solvent from the polystyrene, which is then turned into pellets that are sold to companies who use them to manufacture their own plastic.

The company also rents out machines, called concentrators, to other corporations. Brouart Gaillot said that makes it cheaper for companies to get rid of their polystyrene than sending it to landfills.

“We’re innovative. This is what changed the game,” she said. “We developed an innovation and this is disruptive. This is what will change the polystyrene industry.”

The technology has proven so useful that the company is looking to expand its operations, said project manager Jon Caplan.

“The plant over here, it’s a demonstration plant. It’s not a full-scale plant, so it’s basically a quarter of the size of what we expect to have an industrial-sized plant,” he said. “Being a new technology, there’s a startup curve. This is a never been done before type of technology.”