Great American Cleanup Tips

Christine Flowers, director of Keep California Beautiful, is the organizer of the Great American Cleanup, an annual spring event that aims to clean up the streets of Sacramento, specifically by recycling everything possible.  The event promotes special drop-off spots to which Sacramento residents can bring items that may not be curbside recyclable, but can still be processed for repurposing at special facilities.  These items include electronic waste such as hair dryers and vacuums, along with cigarette butts, the most commonly littered item in the country.

While promoting her event, Flowers also focuses on raising awareness about exactly what is recyclable in Sacramento, as the curbside blue bin rules differ by city and county.  In Sacramento, people might be surprised to learn that more than just traditional paper and plastic are curbside recyclable.  Acceptable items also include metal containers, many plastic bottles that can be found in a bathroom, and even plastic grocery bags.

One hot topic is polystyrene (PS) foam, the material often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam®, which is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.  PS foam, which is commonly found in food containers such as cups and takeout boxes as well as in electronics packaging, is now an acceptable material to be placed in blue bins.  Sacramento does ask that it be placed all together in a plastic bag, but city officials have joined 65 other California cities that allow it to be curbside recycled, reaching about 20% of the total California population.  This is a large step in the right direction because it creates the opportunity for upcycling, as recycled foam can actually be turned into high-end picture frames and crown molding.

Source: Good Day Sacramento

Foam Recycling