Communities across the world are debating if they should consider banning polystyrene foam or if they should recycle it. Banning polystyrene forces businesses into switching to costlier alternatives and still leads to waste from foam packaging in shipping. Foam recycling is becoming an increasingly viable decision for communities to consider. With increasing demand for recycled polystyrene in manufacture processes around the world, there is a viable market for the recycled materials.
Recycling In Action
The Foam Recycling Coalition launched a brand new grant program to help communities pay for foam recycling equipment. The grant program will help communities that are recycling of foodservice packaging, egg cartons, meat trays and protective packaging. The grants will be available to both public and private sector organizations and will range from an estimated $15,000 to $50,000 each.
The key to fostering environmental stewardship in the general public is engaging them firsthand with the recycling process. Students from the Rossland Summit School got to experience the trash and recycling process during a class program called Beyond Recycling.
“This is not your ordinary field trip,” said Monica Nissen, Education Program Manager for Wildsight, the organization that facilitated the event. “The kids get to be detectives for a day, to solve the mystery of what happens to our waste once we throw it in the trash.”
Foam and rigid polystyrene are a growing area of plastic recycling and that is expanding to communities around the world. Montreal is yet another major city in North America that is committed to recycling the polystyrene waste that their community produces. The city has extended their pilot foam-recycling program for the next five years with a new collection facility at the Lasalle Ecocentre in Montreal.
Universities are always on the cutting edge of the most important trends in science and energy and Penn State is no different. The Nittany Lions offer their students the chance to help make a difference by recycling polystyrene.
Like most schools, students have on campus dining options that use polystyrene products. What Penn State does differently, is that they recycle their polystyrene foam waste so that it can be turned into new products like pens, picture frames or home construction supplies.