Foam recycling programs now have more funding available as of this month thanks to the Foam Recycling Coalition. The Foam Recycling Coalition, also known as the FRC, opened up its grant submission process in order to encourage and support increased recycling of packaging made from polystyrene.
The FRC looks to strengthen or start a polystyrene recycling program because often times, consumers are unaware of the material they are using and opt to just throw it away, rather than recycle it. Raising awareness about foam recycling will benefit the environment and small businesses alike
Polystyrene—often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company—can be easily identified by the #6 chasing arrows symbol that is stamped on the products. It is most frequently used for foodservice products like cups, plates, bowls, and clamshell takeout containers.
According to Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, “the Foam Recycling Coalition has awarded nearly $225,000 in grants to communities in the United States and Canada” in the past two years. Because of these investments, almost one million more people can recycle polystyrene foam.
In 2015, these grants went to Denver’s Alpine Waste & Recycling, as well as Colchester County, Nova Scotia. Three other counties joined them in receiving these grants in 2016, including Georgia’s Athens-Clarke County, Minnesota’s McLeod County, and Redding in California. These communities use this funding to purchase equipment—like densifiers—that assist in foam recycling.
One of the requirements that the grantees must uphold include communicating the addition of foam polystyrene in their recycling program, both directly to households and in their regular communication of materials. They also must commit to a minimum of three years of collecting, processing, and marketing foam polystyrene, which includes reporting on the volumes to FRC.
For each grant, the FRC distributes up to $50,000, and grant amounts are determined depending on each case and what they each individually require.
This initiative helps fund many things, including infrastructure for collection, processing, and marketing polystyrene foam products. Both public and private organizations involved in managing this type of work are eligible to apply for funding.
ABOUT FRC: The Foam Recycling Coalition was formed under the Foodservice Packaging Institute in 2014 to support increased recycling of foodservice packaging made from foam polystyrene. FRC shares general information on foam recycling, provides technical resources and offers funding assistance to programs ready to start or strengthen post-consumer foam recycling. Members include stakeholders from throughout the foodservice packaging value chain. Learn more at http://www.fpi.org/stewardship.