Buckeye Industries Provides Free Foam Recycling and Employment to Adults with Disabilities


In the Greater Cleveland Ohio area, Buckeye Industries, a subsidiary of New Avenues to Independence, is helping keep foam out of landfills while providing vocational training and employment to people living with disabilities through their free foam recycling program. Within this program, individuals or businesses can drop-off their expanded polystyrene foam for free to any Buckeye location throughout Northeast Ohio. Buckeye Industries’ philanthropic deeds do not end with just recycling, as they also care about economic well-being for all. This is why all of the employees who are hired by Buckeye Industries to recycle the foam are adults with developmental disabilities.

“We decided to start a free foam recycling program because we wanted to open up the ability to save our planet and to assist residents who wanted to discard their foam,” said Amie Gonzalez, Vocational Services Director at New Avenues.  “It’s important for people to know that foam is a material that can be recycled.”

Even though individuals and businesses can recycle their foam packaging at any location, the foam ultimately ends up at Buckeye Industries Eastlake location (33851 Curtis Blvd.) since they have the proper equipment to recycle the material. At work, the employees sort through and examine the foam to make sure the material is clean of glue or tape before entering the densifier. Once the foam is accepted it is compressed into large foam blocks to be purchased by foam buyers. From there, the recycled foam is created into brand new consumer items like picture frames and building insulation.

According to Gonzalez the foam recycling program is a win for all parties involved.

“In this program we are employing and training adults with disabilities, helping our communities and area businesses, and saving our landfills from foam, which in return, helps all of us save the environment,” said Gonzalez. “Additionally, our employees are not only learning the importance of recycling, but also valuable job skills, like how to use a time clock and how to work collaboratively as a team—all important skills that can be applied in or outside the workforce.”

Individuals and businesses can drop-off their foam for free Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at any location. Buckeye Industries also offers pick-up options, but there is an additional charge.

Are you interested in recycling polystyrene foam in your community? Check out these recycling tips that explain the foam recycling process. The process is seamless, and can leverage a city’s existing curbside recycling infrastructure. Find out how you can launch your own foam recycling program in your business or community today.

About New Avenues to Independence

For more than 62 years, New Avenues to Independence located in Cleveland, Ohio, has served adults and children with disabilities. New Avenues’ mission is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs to become more independent and productive members of society by offering the highest quality support services and developing innovative and inclusive programs. The Buckeye locations include Cleveland West, Eastlake, Madison, and Cleveland East. In addition to Buckeye Industries, New Avenues also offers residential programs, community-based and children programs, mainstream housing, and home choice services in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, and Lake Counties. For more information please call (216) 481-1909 x223 or visit www.newavenues.net for more details.