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Du polystyrène

OUT WITH STYROFOAM!

Montréal innovation
Published on
October 20, 2017
Under the direction of a young entrepreneur, Polystyvert has finally found an effective way of recycling polystyrene.

Under the direction of a young entrepreneur, Polystyvert has finally found an effective way of recycling polystyrene.

Polystyrene is a consumer staple, particularly in its swollen form of Styrofoam, employed for packaging electronics and keeping food cold.

Every year, 60,000 tons of new polystyrene is purchased or used in Québec, with two-thirds ending in the dump. The reason is simple: because Styrofoam is light for its volume, transporting it to a recycling facility is expensive.

To solve this problem, the young Montréal company, Polystyvert, came up with the idea of dissolving Styrofoam in metal vats at the collection site, then melting it down to a less bulky liquid. Next, they haul the liquid to a factory, where it’s transformed into small pellets. These pellets are then used in making “new” polystyrene, which can be used for food trays, packaging and building insulation.

Solène Brouard Gaillot

Montréal vert

The firm’s president and founder, Solenne Brouard Gaillot, was born in France and has lived in Québec for the past 15 years. Solenne thought Montréal was the perfect place to launch and grow Polystyvert.

“Montrealers are concerned with ecology,” she says. Lots of people make small gestures, which as a whole, encourage recycling and help protect the environment. Québec and the rest of Canada, she adds, are receptive to technological innovation and support new businesses.”

The recipient of many awards for its technological achievements, Polystyvert has won millions of dollars in public and private financing. The firm now has a dozen employees and will soon move to its new Anjou plant.