Trade News  |  December 14, 2021

Joint press release

Fresh salmon packed with Styropor® Ccycled™: The world’s first EPS fish boxes based on chemically recycled plastics introduced in Norway

  • Bremnes Seashore uses Styropor® Ccycled™ for its high-quality BÖMLO® salmon filets
  • Virgin quality and food contact approval guaranteed: Ccycled™ fish boxes are identical to conventional boxes made of expandable polystyrene (EPS)
  • Circular economy: VARTDAL PLAST engaged in fish box recycling

Ludwigshafen, Germany and Vartdal/Bømlo, Norway, 14 December 2021 – Fresh fish and ChemCycling™: How does this go together? In a joint project, three companies have demonstrated how it works: BASF as raw material supplier for EPS, VARTDAL PLAST, who converts the beads into filet fish boxes and Bremnes Seashore that uses the boxes for the transport of some of its high-quality salmon brand BÖMLO® as of Christmas 2021.

“The EPS Fish Box is a well-known and trusted companion of ours with excellent properties for maintaining and securing the cold chain during transport. A secure cold chain is vital for food safety and preventing food waste. For us at Bremnes Seashore it’s exciting to try an alternative where the carbon footprint is significantly reduced and we always appreciate initiatives that promote the circular economy,” says Simon Nesse Økland, Head of Development at Bremnes Seashore.

Food contact approval and virgin-quality packaging

Thanks to its manufacturing process, Styropor® Ccycled™ has the same properties as conventional Styropor®. This maintains the excellent packaging properties such as thermal insulation and pressure-resistance with good buckling stiffness and stacking stability, which are essential to keep fish cool and safe at the same time. In the production of the packaging foams that have become so well-known over the last 70 years, pyrolysis oil replaces fossil raw materials. BASF sources this oil from technology partners who use a thermochemical process called pyrolysis to transform post-consumer plastic waste that would otherwise be used for energy recovery or go to landfill into this secondary raw material. BASF then uses the oil at the very beginning of the value chain to manufacture new plastics and other products.

Since recycled and fossil raw materials are mixed in BASF’s production Verbund and cannot be distinguished from each other, the recycled portion is allocated to Styropor® Ccycled™ using a mass balance approach. Both the allocation process and the product itself, have been certified by an independent auditor. In addition, a certified Life Cycle Assessment evaluating the environmental performance of the product concludes, that compared with conventional Styropor®, at least 50 percent of CO2 is saved in the production of Styropor® Ccycled™.

Styropor® Ccycled™ for each key application in BASF’s EPS product portfolio

“Chemical recycling of plastic waste is not only an essential building block to achieve the European circular economy targets but is especially useful for applications with high requirements for the quality and safety of the material such as protective packaging, pharma boxes and food packaging. We are therefore very proud of the ChemCycling™ project with Bremnes Seashore on EPS fish boxes and we are happy to have helped our customer to progress on his sustainability path,” says Klaus Ries, head of BASF’s styrenics business in Europe.

Also, for the converter VARTDAL PLAST Styropor® Ccycled™ brings a lot of advantages as the product is identical to virgin material. Therefore, the production process does not have to be adjusted. The company and their products are certified according to the ecoloop certification programme, confirming that 100 % recycled material was used as feedstock. “Bremnes Seashore has been a customer of VARTDAL PLAST for decades and we are excited that they are the first customer to choose VARTDAL AIRBOX LOOP, an EPS fish box made from 100 % Styropor® Ccycled™ raw material derived from chemically recycled plastics”, says Jan Endre Vartdal, owner and CEO at VARTDAL PLAST. “Our goal is to transform our entire production from using fossil based raw materials into using fossil free or recycled raw materials. The use of Styropor® Ccycled™ raw material from BASF enables us to begin this transformation in close cooperation with our customers without compromising on quality and recyclability”.

Circular economy in action: fish boxes are recyclable and recycled

EPS fish boxes are an important packaging product within the EPS product family. The first fish box was made back in 1965 and has since become an essential tool for transporting fresh fish all over the world. With an average weight of 0.6 kg per box the standard EPS fish box on average can carry 22 kg of fresh fish. In addition, EPS fish boxes are recyclable and recycled widely in Scandinavia and other European countries. Therefore, fish boxes are collected, compacted, and shredded. The shredded EPS fish boxes are then used as feedstock to produce recycled polystyrene which can be used for various applications such as insulation boards. “As a plastic producer we have a responsibility to contribute to getting our products back into the loop. For this reason, we have set up two high-capacity compacting sites in the middle of Norway and in the eastern part of Norway. By utilizing return freight, our own trucks collect and transport EPS from waste disposal sites, fish processors and building and construction hubs back to our compacting sites, where the EPS is shredded, compacted and palleted ready for recycling. Our long-term goal is to source the compacted material back into our product series VARTDAL LOOP® which only consists of products made from recycled or fossil free raw materials”, Jan Endre Vartdal adds.

Read more about BASF’s ChemCycling™ project here.


About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 110,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €59 billion in 2020. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com



VARTDAL PLAST is one of the leading EPS producers in Norway offering a wide range of products for food packaging, industrial packaging and building and construction. For 60 years we have contributed to safe food and warm houses by offering such products. Our goal going forward is to transform all our products from containing fossil raw materials to containing recycled or fossil free raw materials. Further information www.vartdalplast.no  


About Bremnes Seashore

Bremnes Seashore AS is one of Norway’s leading suppliers of farmed salmon. With extensive experience, high levels of fish farming knowledge and innovation at every stage of the process, we have developed quality products that are in demand across the world. At our state-of-the-art processing plant in Bømlo, on the western coast of Norway, we produce 500,000 salmon meals every day. With over 500 employees, Bremnes Seashore is an important employer and active supporter of the local communities where we operate. Visit www.seashore.no for further information.


Media contacts:

BASF                                       VARTDAL PLAST                 Bremnes Seashore

Sven Heppes                           Jan Endre Vartdal                  Simon Nesse Økland

Phone: +49 621 60 58772       Phone: +47 913 67 460         Phone: +47 917 59 753

sven.heppes@basf.com      jan@vartdalplast.no           simon@seashore.no



High-quality BÖMLO® salmon filets packed with Styropor® Ccycled™ / photcredit: Peter Tubaas, Vestland Media
High-quality BÖMLO® salmon filets packed with Styropor® Ccycled™ / photcredit: Peter Tubaas, Vestland Media 
Perfectly cooled and packed safely: Styropor® Ccycled™ with proven properties and lower carbon footprint / photcredit: Peter Tubaas, Vestland Media
Perfectly cooled and packed safely: Styropor® Ccycled™ with proven properties and lower carbon footprint / photcredit: Peter Tubaas, Vestland Media
Last Update December 14, 2021