Foam recycling needs its advocates just like any other important cause. In an effort to help promote foam recycling to the general public, the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) has launched the "Foam Recycling Coalition.” This coalition recently commissioned a study on the demand for post-consumer EPS and found a rising demand for recycled Polystyrene.
The survey, completed by Berkley Research Group, found nearly 140 different companies that process and utilize different types of recycled polystyrene. The recycled materials are used to make products like glue, picture frames, insulation board, interior moldings, packaging and containers. BRG also notes that demand for recycled polystyrene will increase by 8% by 2016. Picture frame manufacturer NEPCO cites a higher demand for recycled PS in picture frames because EPS is less expensive than wood. NEPCO officials state, “The only thing that is inhibiting more growth is the supply. We could use five times more material.”
In order to help encourage polystyrene recycling, the coalition will establish and fund a proactive, multi-year grant program to assist residential material recovery facilities (MRFs) in recycling post-consumer polystyrene foam. Target materials to be recovered through the program include polystyrene foam foodservice packaging, such as cups, containers and dinnerware; processor trays; egg cartons; and transport packaging. Public and private businesses that operate MRFs may apply for grants that will provide foam recycling equipment. The fund also will provide technical assistance to grant recipients and others interested in adding foam to their curbside recycling programs. The initial call for applications will occur in early 2015.
The founding members of the coalition include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Commodore; Convermex; D&W Fine Pack; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging, A Tekni-Plex Company; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; Hawaii Foam Products; and Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging. These companies represent the vast majority of the foodservice packaging manufacturing industry in the U.S. and Canada.