Recently, the members of the Northborough Junior Woman’s Club (NJWC) returned from the General Federation of Women’s Clubs’ (GFWC) annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona. NJWC received second place in GFWC’s Community Improvement Program, for their polystyrene recycling project.
Members of the NJWC started the polystyrene project in 2010, when Jane Walsh, chair of the Conservation Committee learned about ReFoamlt, a Framingham-based company dedicated to collecting and repurposing polystyrene foam, or foam #6.
In the spring of 2011, NJWC collaborated with the Northborough Department of Public Works and the Northborough Recycling Committee to host its first one-day collection event. Through this event, residents had the opportunity to dispose of their used or unwanted polystyrene foam products for recycling, at no cost. Within a short period of time, the ReFoamlt collection truck was completely filled with polystyrene foam. The success of the event marked a turning point for NJWC’s polystyrene foam recycling project.
“It was very rewarding and validating that people brought foam on the day of a collection because it told us that we weren’t the only ones thinking this was an important thing to do,” Walsh said.
Since the start of the year, NJWC has hosted two successful foam collection events. One of which was in collaboration with the Household Hazardous Waste Day.
In recognition of its efforts, NJWC was awarded the Community Improvement Program Award. This award identifies a project, spanning over a two year period that focuses on the improvement of a community in a particular sector. To be considered for the award, each of the Junior Women’s Clubs had to submit an application with the goals, plans and outcomes of their project.
The prize includes a monetary award of $3,500 and recognition for NJWC. The prize money will be used towards another project that further improves the needs of the community. In fact, the Conservation Committee hopes NJWC will be able to use the money to create a system where polystyrene foam can be collected on a regular basis.
Many of the surrounding towns are now making strides in recycling polystyrene foam as well, which shows the impact that the NJWC has had on the entire community.