LIFE Project Cover Photo

Polystyrene Loop

Reference: LIFE16 ENV/NL/000271 | Acronym: LIFE-PSLOOP



Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is used extensively throughout Europe as an insulation material. Currently, the amount of EPS construction waste equals 200 kilotonnes per year in Europe and may reach up to 1 000 ktonnes per year in the decades to come. Some 52.5% of this waste is incinerated and the energy recovered, while only 7.5% of EPS waste is recycled. The rest is landfilled or incinerated without energy recovery.

EPS that was produced before 2015 contains the flame retardant Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which has been listed since then as a persistent organic pollutant. A product is no longer allowed to contain more than 100 parts per million of HBCD. Recycling of EPS construction waste is already challenging because of the pollutants (glue, cement residues, etc.) contained within it. It has now become even more so because HBCD must be removed.


The objective of the PSLoop project is to recycle both EPS construction waste and extruded polystyrene (XPS) and to demonstrate an economically viable alternative to incineration. The recycling process is based on the dissolution of PS foam and the removal of the HBCD. The process delivers a PS gel ready for use as a raw material for EPS or XPS. Furthermore, bromine is recovered from the HBCD and recycled.

The project will construct a recycling plant to demonstrate the process on an industrial scale; the process will have already been tested in a pilot plant. The process has been designed to deal with different qualities of input material to maximise internal recycling of the solvent used and to obtain optimised polymers that are in line with virgin quality PS. In addition, the project aims to create a value chain for EPS/XPS with recycling and collection companies by demonstrating a standard collection and pre-treatment system.

The project will have significant climate action implication, given that the PSLoop value chain is much more energy and resource efficient than the production of PS from virgin raw materials. Furthermore, the project contributes to the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe and the Waste Framework Directive, as it is creating a value chain for EPS/XPS. It also contributes to implementation of the REACH regulation by reducing the impact of chemicals on the environment or human health through their substitution with safer substances.

Expected results:

  • Construction of a demonstration plant able to recycle 3 000 tonnes of EPS/XPS waste per year;
  • Establishment of a collection system able to supply the required EPS/XPS waste quantities to the demonstration plant;
  • Production of 2 100 tonnes/year of PS gel and 43 tonnes/year of bromine;
  • Avoidance of the emission of 210 tonnes/year of carbon monoxide, 25 tonnes/year of aromatic hydrocarbons and 10 tonnes/yearof aliphatic hydrocarbons;
  • Reduction by 12 000 tonnes/year of greenhouse gas emissions (78%) compared to the baseline scenario; and
  • Saving of 150 000 GJ of energy.


    Reference: LIFE16 ENV/NL/000271
    Acronym: LIFE-PSLOOP
    Start Date: 01/07/2017
    End Date: 01/07/2024
    Total Eligible Budget: 5,323,150 €
    EU Contribution: 2,699,977 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: PolystyreneLoop Coperatief UA (PSLoop UA)
    Legal Status: PCO
    Address: Frankrijkweg 10, 4538 BJ , Terneuzen,
    Contact Person: Richard Geevers
    Email: Send Email

    LIFE Project Map



    • Hazardous waste
    • Waste recycling


    • waste recycling
    • chemical industry
    • hazardous substance
    • building waste
    • resource conservation


    • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
    • "Regulation 1272/2008 - Classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (amends REACH regulation) (16.12.2008)"
    • Directive¬†2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.2008)


    Name Type
    PolystyreneLoop Coperatief UA (PSLoop UA) Coordinator
    ICL Europe Coöperatief U.A., The Netherlands Participant
    Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Germany Participant
    PS Loop BV (since 1 October 2022) Participant


    Type Resource
    Brochure "Circular Economy – Kreislaufwirtschaft in der Praxis: Rückgewinnung Von Polystyrolschaumstoff Und Brom Im Geschlossenen Kreislauf" (954 KB)
    Brochure "The circular economy in action: Closed-loop recovery of polystyrene foam and bromine" (1.27 MB)
    Brochure "Oběhová ekonomika v akci: Uzavřený okruh zpětného získávání polystyrenové pěny a bromu" (1.58 MB)
    Project web site Project's website
    Project web site Project's Instagram page
    Project web site Project's Twitter page
    Poster "PolyStyreneLoop: Circular Economy in action: Closed-loop recovery of HBCDD-containing polystyrene foam waste" (239 KB)
    Poster "The circular economy in action closed-loop recovery of Polystyrene foam and bromine" (2.59 MB)
    Poster "The circular economy in action: Closed-Loop recovery of polystyrene foam and bromine" (6.63 MB)
    Slides Presentation "Introduction PolyStyreneLoop Cooperative U.A" (5.12 MB)
    Slides Presentation "PolyStyreneLoop: une solution unique de recyclage adaptée aux déchets de PSE et XPS contenant du HBCD" (2.12 MB)
    Slides Presentation "EPR schemes in a circular economy: 22nd May 2018" (2.11 MB)
    Slides Presentation "The feasibility of a demo plant for PolyStyrene Dissolution: The basis for discussion during the Rotterdam Conference on Circular Economy 8./9. December 2016" (1.21 MB)
    Newsletter "In the loop: Update PolyStyreneLoop - March 2018" (1.22 MB)
    Newsletter "In the loop: Update PolyStyreneLoop December 2017" (927 KB)
    Newsletter "Welcome to the PolyStyreneLoop Newsletter" (651 KB)
    Newsletter "Welcome to the PolystyreneLoop Foundation Newsletter!" (438 KB)