- Dart Container Corp. has opened three new drop-off locations for expanded polystyrene products. These sites are located in Ada, OK; Urbana, IL and Twin Falls, ID, as reported by Plastics News.
- The sites are open to the public 24 hours per day. They accept various types of polystyrene products, such as cups, egg cartons, trays, ice boxes, packaging material and other No. 6 foams.
- The clean material is used to make products including picture frames, baseboards and molding.
Hundreds of these drop-off locations are now open throughout the country. Dart has established more than 40 of them and now runs two washing facilities to clean the material before it goes to manufacturers. According to a website operated by Dart, dozens of companies in the U.S. accept certain types of clean polystyrene foam to make new products, though the majority of them don't pick up or pay for the material.
Transporting the material efficiently is key, and compacting equipment has helped make it possible to fit 40,000 pounds inside of a 48-foot truck that could normally only hold 1,000 pounds. A mix of industry and government grants have helped more local recycling facilities purchase necessary processing equipment and innovation continues in this sector as seen with Agilyx's new use of pyrolysis processing. Yet like any consumer material, particularly one that often comes into contact with food and beverages, contamination can make quality a challenge.
Similar to plastic bags or even bottles, creating more industry-funded drop-off or collection options helps companies tout the recycling access for their products. Polystyrene foam is recyclable — technically, any material is — but questions about whether the process is efficient or sustainable have persisted. Major brands are beginning to feel pressure to change their packaging from advocacy groups and foundations. Multiple cities have tried to ban or regulate the material with varying degrees of success and Maryland may become the first state to do it this year.