- Madison, MI-based Dart Container has opened a polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) drop-off center in Chicago. The center is free of charge and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to residents, businesses, and organizations, as reported Recycling Today.
- It will accept Styrofoam cups, food containers, egg cartons, meat trays, ice chests, and some protective shipping packaging.
- Items must be marked with a No. 6 chasing arrow; be rinsed; without straws, lids, or other non-foam material; and contained in a clear, sealed bag.
Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups a year where they end up in landfills or oceans, harming the environment and wildlife. Due to this problem, there has been an industry-wide debate centered around the best way to dispose of the material.
Dart and the Restaurant Action Alliance claim Styrofoam is easily recyclable. But if people are unaware of this, or have no way to recycle, the cups and to-go containers keep piling up, and the environmental impact is still there.
Meanwhile the Food and Drug Administration and many environmental groups claim Styrofoam is not completely recyclable. Therefore, rather than testing out infrastructure, 100 municipalities have decided to ban the material altogether. New York City tried, but received backlash.
Dart has taken the matter into its own hands to prove its point, having set up nearly 90 North American drop-off centers to date.
"We offer this service for free, and our hope is that this center will encourage Chicago residents to recycle foam materials they might otherwise have thrown away," said Michael Westerfield, Dart’s director of Recycling, as reported in Recycling Today.
Several cities have launched their own curbside recycling or drop-off programs, figuring recycling is the answer over ignoring the problem or trying to make this long-standing convenience item go away.