Foam Recycling Spreads Across Canada


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. The project is being run in conjunction with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.

The project has already proven to be worthwhile, collecting 2.5 tons of polystyrene in the first year of the pilot program. The city is looking at more ways to increase their foam recycling.

“We could also look at collecting it curbside, but we haven’t gotten there yet,” said Réal Ménard, the executive committee member in charge of environmental matters.

The polystyrene is collected and shipped to a facility where it is then broken down and then densified into blocks that are sold to companies that use the recycled polystyrene to create new products like interior moulding and CD cases.

Montreal is one of several cities throughout the country of Canada that are recycling polystyrene. Currently there are 181 cities and towns that offer curbside collection for rigid polystyrene and 45 municipalities that pick up foam packaging. There are also 40 different drop-off locations across the country.

One of the communities that is now accepting foam in their curbside recycling is Kings County, Nova Scotia. The curbside program, currently run by Valley Waste Management, is the first program to recycle polystyrene foam in the province.

Trial runs of the recycling process began in September. As of Nov. 19, approximately five tons of Styrofoam had already been recycled through the initiative. This foam is taken to a densifier in the local community to be compressed into more efficient blocks of polystyrene.

“The problem is that everyone here in North America thinks about recycling in terms of cost,” said François Beauchesne, the vice-president of sales and business development for the company Polyform.

Currently the demand for recycled polystyrene has been outpacing the supply for recycled polystyrene. Companies around the world are only limited by the amount of feedstock they can get.

If your community is interested in launching a foam-recycling program, Home For Foam can help! We have a variety of information on how to get started including machinery and collateral to promote your new program throughout your area. We also have a list of buyers for recycled foam once you have begun the process of recycling foam. Not sure if your community already recycles foam? Check our map to see if you already have locations in your area.

Magder, Jason. "Montreal will extend project to recycle polystyrene" The Montreal Gazette. 27 November, 2014Web. 15 December, 2014.

Starratt, Kirk. "Valley Waste launches province’s first Styrofoam curbside recycling program" The Annapolis County Spectator. 24 November, 2014Web. 15 December, 2014.