Foam Recycling Goes Global

July 21, 2015

Supporters of foam recycling are pleased that this environmentally sustainable practice is catching on around globe. Residents and commercial outlets in Colchester County, Nova Scotia, will soon be able to add expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam in with the rest of their recyclable products. This means that thousands of household foam products, including egg cartons, meat trays, and protective packaging will bypass the landfill.

This victory for the environment was made possible thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC), a trade association in North America. The Foam Recycling Coalition supports the increased recycling of foam foodservice packaging made from polystyrene foam by spreading information, providing technical resources and offering funding.

With the help of the FRC, Colchester County has begun the process of purchasing equipment that compacts polystyrene foam into bricks prior to transportation into the market. The county will also be upgrading its intake facilities where the foam is processed. The Kemptown facility, located in the center of Nova Scotia and near the Trans-Canada Highway, also extends processing contracts to neighboring municipalities and waste management authorities. Therefore, the money that is being brought in by the FRC will go towards helping other areas process EPS foam.

Polystyrene foam recycling programs like this one are very important to our economy and everyday lives.  Recycled foam is made into consumer goods that are used by millions on a daily basis around the world. These items include things like picture frames, toys and office supplies. In addition, foam is recycled to produce many building materials such as wood-alternative products.

Ensuring that EPS foam is properly recycled also helps local restaurateurs and other businesses that rely on foam foodservice products to keep their doors open. Foam alternatives, like paper, are more expensive, do not insulate as well, and make up more of the waste in landfills than foam. Further, polystyrene foam containers consume less energy to manufacture than paper containers, have lower atmospheric emissions, and contribute less to waterborne wastes than bleached paper products.

Thanks to the Foam Recycling Coalition and Colchester County, more polystyrene will be spared from the trash and repurposed to be put to good use. Due to its benefits, availability, and growth, foam recycling is the clear solution not just for Nova Scotia, but for many people and places around the world. Colchester County’s example is one that should be followed by many.