Under the California Home for Foam program, Dart Container Corporation partners with cities throughout California to increase recycling options for foam #6 products, sometimes mistakenly referred to as ‘Styrofoam®’, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company. Recycling foam is great for the environment because it diverts waste from local landfills. Foam can be recycled into picture frames, architectural molding and flower pots.
Todd Hatch, Ripon Interim Public Works Supervisor, thinks avoiding foam bans is the smarter route because “it’s far easier for cities to just recycle what’s already out there” and polystyrene bans negatively impact businesses like restaurants. Foam cups and containers are significantly less expensive than paper alternatives and restaurants already work with tight budgets because of small profit margins.
Ripon was one of the first cities in the state to participate in the Dart program. The public can drop off polystyrene foam products, including foam cups and containers, at the recycling center in Ripon. Dart collects the foam items twice per month and takes them back to the Dart manufacturing facility to recycle them. The city of Ripon found it easy to inform its residents about recycling foam because they were already familiar with the local recycling center.
Since Ripon already operates this recycling facility, creating a designated drop-off area for expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam was a minimal expense. Dart does not charge the facility for picking up the foam items. As a result, the California Home for Foam program has proven to be a cost-effective solution for cities with tight budgets.
In regards to whether other California cities should participate in Dart Container’s program, Hatch pointed out the cost-savings and said, “Yes, absolutely. [The program] eliminates our issue of transporting it; we don’t have to deal with arranging the equipment or labor that would otherwise be involved with recycling foam.”
In addition to the several recycling centers that already collect foam products, California has more than 40 cities and counties offering curbside recycling for polystyrene foam. In order to participate in Dart’s California Home for Foam program, there must be a recycling center open to the public and no foam ban in your community. The foam drop-off location must have a sign with instructions and be accessible to a 48’, 13’6” tall trailer. For more information, go to the California Home for Foam site.