Cindy and Brent Fifer recently purchased 16 acres of land in Elkhart, Indiana to start Nature’s Wood Products (NWP), a large-scale recycling center. Cindy Fifer stated NWP will start with foam recycling services in order to “meet the pressing need.” The company eventually plans to expand its recycling services to cardboard and wood.
“It’s so light. We’re getting it out of the waste stream and helping the RV plants,” said Cindy Fifer about foam products, sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Styrofoam®” which is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.
The couple moved to Indiana 12 years ago bringing with them a deep understanding of the recycling industry. Cindy’s father pioneered solid waste recycling in the 1970s – designing and building recycling facilities across the country.
“We ran a small collection company for my father,” Cindy said. “About two years ago, we decided we wanted to develop our own recycling facility.”
NWP provides businesses and organizations a convenient foam recycling option by sending each business large poly bags to collect the foam. The foam material must be cleaned and cannot be wet, according to NWP’s recycling specifications.
Recycling foam is a step-by-step process. The first step is to collect the foam with the poly bags. Once foam is collected, it’s inspected and sorted on a conveyer belt then sent to a breaker. The breaker turns the material into fluff which is used to make new products, such as picture frames, hangers and rulers.
Cindy explains that the material “goes into a breaker that breaks it down into about the size a little bit bigger than a golf ball.” Then the densifier squeezes the air out of those pieces. “We put it on pallets. It comes out in compressed cubes. One guy can empty the trailer and process the material in about an hour and a half. We ship it to various people that make new products out of it.”
Dart Container Corporation is another company pioneering the foam recycling industry with recycling facilities located nationwide. Dart offers foam recycling programs, including CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) and Recycla-Pak, to businesses and organizations.
Dart and NWP both provide easy foam recycling options that are helping the recycling industry to grow. It’s clear that recycling programs are the better choice over foam bans.
Source: South Bend Tribune