Versalis, a subsidiary of Eni, and The Flo Group, a brand that specializes in the production of tableware and food packaging, have partnered to create the R-Hybrid: the first vending cup made from post-consumer recycled polystyrene.

The partnership is a step towards food packaging innovation with a more efficient recycling system involving the reuse of resources—R-Hybrid is itself also recyclable.

Styrenics Circular Solution (SCS), a European association, and Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s leading applied research center, were involved in the entire styrenics polymer supply chain, from raw material manufacturers to post-consumer recycling companies.

R-Hybrid is thermoformed and has an ABA multilayer, sandwich-type structure, where the inner layer contains r-PS from the Versalis-Revive PS series, developed by Eni's chemical company, and the outer layer contains virgin PS, which acts as a safe functional barrier.

"The R-Hybrid project is strategic because it finally opens the door to the reuse of polystyrene in food containers and ensures that it retains its original value,” Erika Simonazzi, marketing manager of the Flo Group, said in a press release. “The new R-Hybrid combines the benefits of a reduced carbon footprint and the effective reuse of post-consumer plastic that is put back into circulation through the creation of new cups."

The R-Hybrid cup will enter the market at the end of the year, replacing the FLO Group’s Hybrid cup, the beaker which saved the vending market more than 2,600 tonnes of CO2 in 2022 use.