While many organizations offer volunteer opportunities for their employees, most do not include walking a highway and eagerly searching for discarded litter to haul away. That’s exactly what the workers and families of Dart Container Corporation did recently during a spring outing in Mason, Michigan. As a part of their commitment to Michigan’s Adopt-A-Highway program, Dart employees have worked for the last four years to ensure that a two-mile stretch within their own community is kept clean by participating in a roadside litter pick-up day twice a year. Dart is a leading manufacturer of consumer polystyrene foam products, which are often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam® products, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.
Nearly 25 Dart employees, as well as friends and family, came together over the weekend of April 12-13 to remove 72 bags of litter from their community. Dianne Norton, the organization’s Human Resources assistant, commented, “At Dart, we have a commitment to keeping our communities free of litter, but what really impresses us is our employees shared commitment to improving the environment.” Many participants noted that they were excited to continually pick-up fewer bags of waste each year, showing that their efforts to keep the stretch of highway clean are paying off. All of the collected litter will be picked up by Michigan’s Refuge Services, while the collected foam will be taken directly to Dart’s facilities to be processed and recycled.
Dart has proven its commitment to environmental responsibility not only through participating in the Adopt-A- Highway program, but also through its foam recycling efforts within the U.S. Dart has implemented programs within several cities and organizations to ensure that discarded foam is easily collected, recycled and reused so that it not only avoids local landfills, but also allows for new economic opportunities. Because foam products are made of 95% air, the collected waste must first go through a process called densification, which compresses a foam item to just a fraction of its original size. Once this occurs, the material is processed and sent to manufacturing companies that reuse it in the production of brand new consumer goods such as picture frames, architectural moldings, and nursery plant containers. By encouraging its employees to volunteer within their community and developing new recycling efforts across the U.S., Dart continues to be an example of an organization implementing best practices when it comes to environmental awareness.