A new partnership between Dart Container Corporation and Republic Service’s Newby Island Resource Recovery Park in San Jose, California is making recycling polystyrene foam products easier than ever for both businesses and consumers. Single-use items made of polystyrene foam, which is often referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company, requires a little more processing to recycle. However, Dart is investing in new equipment and implementing new products to make recycling this waste a very easy process throughout the US.
Michael Westerfield, Dart’s corporate director of recycling programs, comments, “A lot of people want to recycle foam, but they don’t know that you can.” This specific partnership with Republic Service is just one program of a statewide initiative throughout California which Dart began in 2008. The goal of this initiative is to cut down on unnecessary polystyrene foam waste, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that foam-based products total only 1% of the entire waste pool of the country.
Dart’s work throughout California has made major strides towards mainstreaming foam recycling efforts. Westerfield asserts that when beginning this California initiative “in 2007, there weren’t any (foam recycling) facilities available. Today, we’ve got more than 65.” The center on Newby Island is just that: a place where organizations and individuals can drop off their single-use foam products for it to be sorted and recycled responsibly. This has been made possible by a $30-million remodel of the facility to add polystyrene compressors and densifying devices which cut foam waste into chips and then compresses it into a new material. Westerfield also notes that the compressed foam is then purchased by local manufacturers who use it in everyday products such as picture frames and crown molding.
This example from the Newby Island Resource Recovery Park is just one of many in the effort to move forward with implementing more foam recycling programs. Dart has implemented specific programs to continually promote the importance of polystyrene recycling to consumers. The CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) and Recycla-Pak programs make it easy for any company or organization to recycle single-use foam cups. The CARE program provides users with the densifying device to compress their own foam waste, which is then collected by participating manufacturers.
Source: Mercury News