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Tigard company begins recycling tons of hard to recycle Styrofoam, other plastics

Agilyx began taking that bulky Styrofoam packing material last year while it continued to develop the machinery to turn the foam and other plastics in a styrene-enriched oil. That's the basic building block of all plastics. (KATU)

Here's an update on a story KATU did last summer about a Tigard company that's patented a way to recycle Styrofoam and other plastics into an oil that can be refined to make new plastics.

It’s a very advanced form of recycling,” said Brian Moe, vice-president of Agilyx Corporation. “It’s the next kind of stage, the next part of recycling. Previous types of recycling still has its place. This will enable us to just recycle more material than we ever have before.”

Agilyx began taking that bulky Styrofoam packing material last year while it continued to develop the machinery to turn the foam and other plastics into a styrene-enriched oil.

That's the basic building block of all plastics.

“It’s returning it to its highest use,” Moe said. “Instead of when you traditionally recycle, it generally gets downgraded and you can only recycle it so many times. Where we’re returning the molecules to its original form.”

Company officials say the plant is the first commercial scale chemical recycling of polystyrene to styrene oil in the world.

They expect to recycle up to ten tons of polystyrene waste a day -- waste that used to be unrecoverable.

Moe said the advantage of their process is that some food contamination, and a mix of different colored plastic can be recycled.

The material is heated up, shredded and then turned back into the raw material to make new polystyrene, in both foam and rigid plastics, which includes everything from plastic cups, to plastic utensils.

The word is gradually getting out to consumers.

Agilyx is working with Metro, refiners and other private and public agencies to find more solutions to recycle mixed-waste plastics.

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