As communities around the country look to implement foam recycling in their towns one of the biggest things they struggle with is getting started. How and where are two important questions that are frequently asked. Winnetka, Illinois has a simple answer.
One box in a city building.
In 2012, Winnetka began recycling block polystyrene by placing a box in the Winnetka Public Works Building for two weeks. Now the program has grown to a year round recycling program that just collected 290 cubic feet of polystyrene.
The recycling program began after Charlotte McGee, a member of Winnetka’s Environmental and Forestry Commission met with Hubbard Woods Environmental PTO head Liz Kunkle and Winnetka Assistant Public Works Director Steve Auth to offer polystyrene recycling.
The program collects all types of polystyrene at a drop off location at the Winnetka Public Works Building where it is stored until the Dart Container Corporation picks it up.
“They were happy to have it,” Kunkle said. “They sell it to a purchaser in Wisconsin. Part of the reason we pursued a relationship with Dart is because they accept food service Styrofoam. They produce these types of cups and they take responsibility to not add them to a landfill.”
Dart takes the foam to its factory in North Aurora to be recycled. There the foam is chopped up into smaller pieces and then ran through a densifier to create more efficient and shippable blocks of polystyrene that are sold to companies to create new products out of the recycled foam.
“It doesn’t cost the village anything,” McGee said. “They’re just donating the space to hold the product.”
Polystyrene drop off is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays inside the Winnetka Public Works Building lobby, 1390 Willow Road.
Citation: Schering, Steve. “Styrofoam recycling to be offered year-round in Winnetka” Winnetka Talk. 4 April 2014. Web. 12 September, 2014
Citation: Schering, Steve. “Village of Winnetka’s recycling efforts a success” Winnetka Talk. 15 August 2014. Web. 12 September, 2014.