A new report released by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) indicates that the amount of post-consumer plastics recycled across Canada increased in 2011 when compared to 2010. An additional 24 percent of packaging and products were recycled in 2011 as reported by Moore Recycling Associates Inc., who conducted the year-over-year study. Specifically, this report showed that a large amount of polystyrene foam was recycled throughout 2011. The term polystyrene foam, which is often referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company, refers to many different types of foam packaging and foodservice products such as egg cartons and take-out containers.
The CPIA states that more than 746,000 kilograms – or more than 1.6 million pounds – of polystyrene foam was recycled in Canada in 2011. The report attributes that newly available densifying technology has kept this large amount of product out of landfills and responsibly recycled; specifically, this methodology allows for more efficient transport of the foam waste. The process of recycling polystyrene foam includes the densifying technique which shrinks foam product down to a fraction of its original size. This material is then purchased by manufacturers to be used in the production of a variety of new consumer goods, including crown molding and decorative picture frames.
One such company in the US providing this technology and process is Dart Container Corporation. Much like the efforts described in Canada, Dart has launched several programs to promote the importance of polystyrene recycling to consumers and businesses alike. The CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) and Recycla-Pak programs, for example, specifically promote the recycling of single-use foam cups. Much like described in the CPIA report, Dart’s CARE program provides users with their own densifying device to compress foam waste, which is then purchased by manufacturers for use in the production of new items.