I just typed in PS foam packaging onto a Google News search. And not surprisingly many of the top stories were about recent bans of the packaging.
The dynamic between consumer perception of polystyrene foam packaging and bans is something I've covered extensively for PlasticsToday. A question that comes up time and time again. Is expanded polystyrene (EPS) recyclable? The answer is yes, but it's a bit more complicated than other materials.
Dart Container, one of the main producers of single-use food service packaging, is clearly tired of hearing about PS foam's lack of recyclability. In fact, in 2013 I talked with Michael Westerfield, corporate director of recycling programs for Dart Container, about this very topic. The company continues to explore ways to help make sorting of the PS foam at material recovery facilities (MRF's) more efficient. Dart has installed recycling drop-off locations at 18 operated facilities or plants across the world. Dart has also partnered with various community centers on recycling drop-offs for foam.
"It doesn't bother me when I heard the word ban, what bothers me is when people say it's not recyclable," he said. "It's absolutely recyclable and we're doing it."
Still, it appears some government officials are not getting the recycling memo. As such, Dart Container recently launched HomeforFoam.com, which is designed to be an educational website dedicated to informing businesses, city governments, and schools about how PS foam #6 can be recycled. It also provides a list of markets for the material, a list of the environmental and economic benefits to recycling foam #6, as well as a list of locations that accept foam #6 recycling facility.
Here's how the company described it:
For consumers, Homeforfoam.com offers a chance to inspire others through recycling success stories. City governments and businesses can download sample press releases, social media posts and more to promote their foam recycling programs. The website also provides educators with free recycling lesson plan ideas, intercom announcements and more. Foam recyclers can find markets through Homeforfoam.com by connecting with brokers and reclaimers, who resell or use the material to manufacture new products like picture frames and crown molding.
"Dart has been recycling post-consumer foam cups, containers, and packaging since 1990 and we are excited to share some of our knowledge by assembling a website dedicated to advancing foam recycling," said Westerfield, in the news release. "This site is a one stop shop for those wishing to learn how to implement their own program."
While Dart exclusively produces foodservice containers, HomeforFoam.com promotes the growth of all foam #6 recycling including medical coolers, egg cartons, ice chests, foam used to package electronics, and more.
You know what that site reminds me of? Bagtheban.com.