While the holidays may bring about foam waste from packaging materials for many, residents within several San Diego communities now have a responsible way to recycle such discarded wrappings. Curbside pick-up of polystyrene foam products, which are commonly referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company, is now available in two dozen different communities within San Diego, CA. This includes the collection of foam items such as electronic packaging materials, takeout containers and egg cartons.
Although there are some misconceptions in regards to the ability to recycle foam, residents of these communities that are serviced by EDCO disposal can simply place their clean foam waste in curbside blue recycling bins for regular pick-up. Michael Westerfield, director of recycling programs for Dart Container Corporation comments, “The perception out there is that foam is not recyclable. That’s not true.” Contrary to this belief, the discarded foam is collected, sorted and compressed into blocks for manufacturers to purchase. Once obtained by manufacturers, the material is used to produce new items such as picture frames.
Within the last five years, foam waste curbside pick-up has gone from being available in zero San Diego communities to over two dozen, including: Alpine, Bonita, Bonsall, Coronado, Dictionary Hill, Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, Imperial Beach, Julian, La Mesa, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, Lincoln Acres, Mount Helix, National City, Poway, Rainbow, Ramona Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Spring Valley, Valley Center and Vista (Foam recycling is only available to residents serviced by EDCO Disposal).
These San Diego communities are not alone in the effort to implement responsible foam recycling initiatives. Dart has launched other programs to promote the importance of foam recycling to consumers and businesses alike. The CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) and Recycla-Pak programs, for example, make it easy for any organization to recycle single-use foam cups. The CARE program provides users with their own densifying device to compress foam waste; this is then used by manufacturers and processed in a similar fashion to the recycled foam of the participating San Diego communities.
Source: UT San Diego