The Foam Recycling Coalition, which is part of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, has announced it will offer grants in both the public and private sectors to help fund the infrastructure for foam recycling programs. Through these grant opportunities, the coalition is targeting polystyrene foam single-use foodservice products, such as cups, plates, clamshells and cafeteria trays, as well as protective packaging used when shipping electronics or fragile items. When referring to polystyrene foam single-use items, consumers often mistakenly refer to them as Styrofoam®, which is registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.
The program will work to seek out applicants wanting to be involved in managing residential curbside recycling programs, drop-off recycling centers or commercial recycling programs. Centers already focusing on material and waste recovery are also expected to apply for funding, especially organizations looking to develop new or strengthen current polystyrene foam recycling programs. The grants will range from $15,000 to $50,000, and will help aid applicants in the collection, processing and marketing of polystyrene foam products in residential areas. According to Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, “Dozens of cities in the U.S. and Canada already recycle foam, keeping it out of landfills. 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.”
Once program participants have their foam recycling programs up and running, they should find increasing demand for their material. According to the American Chemistry Council, the commercial demand for recycled polystyrene foam products is high; nearly 140 companies process or use the material in the U.S. and Canada alone. Companies within the manufacturing industry often use recycled polystyrene foam in the production of new consumer goods because it costs less than new foam material. The grants provided by the Foam Recycling Coalition will work to allow manufacturers easier access to this product, while also diverting unnecessary waste away from area landfills.