Trinseo Unveils Innovative Recycling Facility in Italy to Promote Circular Economy in Acrylic Solutions

PMMA Depolymerization Demonstration Plant Opening EventSubmitted Image

WAYNE, PATrinseo (NYSE: TSE) has announced the opening of its new polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) depolymerization facility in Rho, Italy. The pilot plant, which commenced operations on June 25, marks a significant advancement in the company’s drive to support a circular economy by introducing next-generation recycling technology for acrylic products. This initiative aligns with Trinseo’s ambitious 2030 Sustainable Product Portfolio Goals.

Francesca Reverberi, Senior Vice President of Engineered Materials and Chief Sustainability Officer at Trinseo, expressed enthusiasm about the facility’s potential impact. “We are thrilled about the opening of our depolymerization facility, which will help advance our goal to support a circular economy,” she said. Reverberi further emphasized the company’s dedication to sustainability, highlighting its commitment to investing in technologies that not only bolster Trinseo’s environmental goals but also aid customers in achieving theirs.

Depolymerization, the process at the heart of this initiative, involves chemically recycling acrylic into its basic component, methyl methacrylate (MMA). This process is pivotal for its capacity to recycle items like PMMA sheets, which were previously considered non-recyclable through mechanical means. The critical advantage of depolymerization is its ability to eliminate additives and contaminants from both pre- and post-consumer acrylic products, thus allowing a larger quantity of PMMA to be recycled.

The facility embodies cutting-edge technology with its continuous process designed to produce high-purity regenerated MMA from acrylic waste. The operation leverages insights from the MMAtwo Consortium, an EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 program, aimed at creating a sustainable value chain for PMMA recycling. This collaborative effort seeks to transform acrylic waste into high-quality regenerated monomer while significantly reducing carbon footprint compared to virgin MMA production.

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Han Hendriks, Chief Technology Officer at Trinseo, marked the occasion as a pivotal milestone in the company’s sustainability efforts. “Depolymerization expands our recycled feedstock capabilities, which in turn, will help us innovate new solutions,” Hendriks stated. He underscored the importance of enhancing Trinseo’s portfolio of recycled acrylics to meet customer demands more effectively.

The recycled MMA (rMMA) produced at Trinseo’s facility will be incorporated into the company’s ALTUGLAS™ and PLEXIGLAS® R-Life product lines. This innovation allows Trinseo to offer rMMA that matches the quality of virgin materials, suitable for use in demanding applications such as automotive lighting and caravan windows, which require high levels of optical clarity.

Trinseo’s new depolymerization facility in Italy represents a significant leap toward realizing a fully circular economy in the acrylic solutions sector. By pioneering this advanced recycling technology, Trinseo not only enhances its sustainability profile but also sets a precedent for the industry to follow, driving forward the global agenda for environmental responsibility and resource efficiency.

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