Foam Recycling Coalition establishes new grant program

Days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a citywide ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam containers and packing peanuts, the  Foam Recycling Coalition has launched a new grant program to help fund infrastructure for the collection, processing and marketing of products made from polystyrene foam. The grant program targets foodservice packaging (cups, plates, bowls, clamshells, cafeteria trays) and protective packaging (used when shipping electronics and other fragile items).

The coalition, part of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, is seeking applicants involved in managing residential curbside recycling programs, drop-off recycling centers and commercial recycling programs. Material recovery facilities also are expected to apply for funding, especially those looking to add or strengthen a polystyrene foam program. Grants, available to both public and private sectors, will range from an estimated $15,000 to $50,000 each.

“Dozens of cities in the U.S. and Canada already recycle foam, keeping it out of landfills,” states Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “With growing end-market demand for foam and improvements in foam equipment and handling, this new grant program serves as a catalyst to increased residential foam recycling.”

Grant amounts will be determined on a case-by-case basis dependent upon equipment needs. No cash match is required, but additional costs may be incurred by the grantee for related items such as site preparation, provision of conveying system, electrical infrastructure, freight and other installation costs.

Grantees will be expected to communicate the addition of polystyrene foam to their recycling program, both directly to households and in their regular communication materials. Grantees also will commit to collecting, processing and marketing polystyrene foam for a minimum of three years — and report on the volumes to the coalition.

The Foam Recycling Coalition was formed last year to focus exclusively on recycling foodservice packaging made from foam. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Commodore; Convermex; D&W Fine Pack; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging, A Tekni-Plex Company; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; Hawaii Foam Products; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; Shell Chemical LP and Styrolution America LLC. Additional support of the coalition comes from the EPS Industry Alliance.

Applications must be submitted by March 16, 2015. Grant recipients will be announced by April 30.

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