Recycle your Styrofoam. Don’t Ban or Trash It!

“Styrofoam” originated from a Dow Chemical Company trademarked form of polystyrene foam insulation. Technically referred to as Expanded Polystrene (EPS) foam, Styrofoam is a form of polystyrene plastic. Polystyrene plastic is typically coded as plastic #6. Recycling is an action that everyone can do to make a difference. Actively recycling Styrofoam wisely can be done easily, contrary to the beliefs of those who support the banning of foam.

Facts About Styrofoam
– Only about five percent of a foam package (ie. Styrofoam) is polystyrene. The rest is air.
– Styrofoam has many benefits, including insulating quality that helps keep food warm. It is also of light weight, has high durability and strength, making it an excellent packaging material.
– Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers is a great resource for finding out where to drop off or mail your Styrofoam. Their collection system relies on EPS manufacturers to serve as recycling locations, allowing AFPR members reprocess up to 60% of the post consumer foam collected and incorporate it directly into new packaging. Expanded polystyrene has a National Mail-Back Program if drop-off sites are not available.
– Studies have shown that foodservice packaging is no more contaminated with food than other commonly recycled food-contact items like bottles, jars or cans.

The Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) was created in 2014 to support efficient environmentally friendly recycling of foodservice packaging made from Styrofoam. “The FRC shares general information on foam recycling, provides technical resources and offers funding assistance to programs ready to start or strengthen post-consumer foam recycling.”

The support and efforts of the FRC has been actively extending to other common packaging materials such as egg cartons and computer packaging. The FRC awards grants and funds to increase foam recycling. Densifying foam creates an efficient process to pack down the foam into a more malleable product that is easier to transport. Many businesses have transitioned into Densifier programs that make the recycling of Styrofoam more economical and environmentally friendly. “Access to foam polystyrene recycling is growing across the U.S. and Canada and so is the demand for recycled polystyrene by manufacturers.” (http://www.recyclemoreplastic.org/plastics/eps_map.html)