Georgia County Awarded Grant to Expand Foam Collection Program

August 26, 2016

The Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC), part of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, awarded Athens-Clarke County in Georgia a $29,000 grant to expand the county’s polystyrene foam collection program at its Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM). The county’s solid waste department, which serves a population of roughly 125,000, intends to use the grant money to buy densifiers that compact polystyrene foam into condensed bricks. These bricks will then be shipped to polystyrene recyclers and other markets.

When polystyrene is condensed, recyclers can use it to make products like rulers, garden nursery trays, picture frames, crown molding, and much more. Recycled polystyrene foam is also used in eco-initiatives such as alternative energy production and “green” buildings. Further, polystyrene is an extremely effective insulation material, and can be combined with concrete for an alternative building construction material.

Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, said that “the Athens-Clarke County community has shown a progressive attitude toward material recovery.” Ms. Dyer added that the county’s “operation has already demonstrated an outstanding ability to recycle a wide array of post-consumer items which makes them an excellent choice for this grant.”

Aside from allowing the facility to purchase densifiers, the grant also allows them to add food-grade foam products, such as cups, egg cartons, and meat trays, to their collection efforts, and increase efficiency in the collection, management, and transportation of post-consumer polystyrene foam.

CHaRM currently accepts paint, lamps, batteries, film plastic, clothing, and automotive fluids, and the funding will let them to additional recyclable materials into the center’s program.

“We’re excited and grateful for this award from the Foam Recycling Coalition,” said Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department Director Suki Janssen. “Athens-Clarke residents have been asking about foam recycling for years, and adding foam to our expanding list of CHaRM items makes perfect sense.”

The grant is the first that FRC has awarded this year, though there will be additional recipients throughout the rest of the year.