Polystyrene was in the news last week with the announcement of legislation launched in California to curb its use in restaurant packaging and schools.
The company hopes to recycle 2,000 tonnes of polystyrene a year in a process it feels is more environmentally friendly than existing methods.
"It's just being thrown out with landfill, which we think is a crime," said Philip Jessop, the chemistry professor from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, who invented the new technology for recycling polystyrene.
According to Jessop, polystyrene presents challenges to recycling because it contains so much air and tends to be contaminated with food waste and chemicals. While most recycling methods need to heat solvents to make them work, his reusable solvent only needs room-temperature exposure to carbon dioxide and air.
The pilot program, a joint venture between GreenCentre Canada, which commercializes green chemistry from universities, and Fielding Chemical Technologies Inc., will determine if Jessop's invention is viable for large-scale recycling.