Polystyrene foam is a widely used product. Foam cups hold morning coffee. Foam peanuts hold fragile packaging. Foam clamshells store leftover food. Some local governments have enacted bans to eliminate foam from everyday lives, but a more reasonable solution is to increase the initiatives for foam recycling.
The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) has commenced its first expanded polystyrene (EPS) recycling initiative, known as the “Foam Recycling Coalition.” The institute recruited Berkley Research Group to conduct a study to better understand end market demand for post consumer foam. The study showed nearly 140 companies process or use recycled post-consumer foam in the United States and Canada. These businesses showed an increasing demand for EPS in domestic and global markets.
Following the research, the institute is now planning to launch a multi-year grant program to aid residential material recovery facilities (MRFs) in recycling post-consumer foam from food service packaging, such as cups, dinnerware, containers, egg cartons, processor trays and transport packaging. Businesses with MRFs can apply for grants through the “Foam Recycling Coalition” to purchase foam recycling equipment and receive technical assistance. The coalition will begin accepting applications in early 2015.
FPI’s goal for the coalition is to capitalize on the market demand by providing businesses the tools they need to sort, store and transport EPS to manufacturing facilities, rather than allowing this useful material to end up in landfills.