SOURCE: ACH Foam Technologies

ACH Foam Technologies

May 24, 2016 09:08 ET

Expanding EPS Recycling to the Curbside Level

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - May 24, 2016) - In 2014, a dozen members of the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) came together to establish the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) to provide direct support for the increased recycling of foodservice packaging made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. In 2015 the FRC, in association with the EPS Industry Alliance (EPS-IA), announced a new grant program to help businesses in the recycling industry increase their capacity to accept post-consumer EPS foam products. The FRC grants will target supporting entities that manage residential curbside and drop-off recycling programs to extend foam recycling to the individual consumer level.

"The idea behind the grant program is to help material recovery facilities recycle EPS cost-effectively," remarks Lynn Dyer, President of the FPI. "Essentially it's all about what can we do to make diverting consumer-level EPS foam products from the waste stream more economical?"

The obstacle has always been the volume of space required to transport the recycled foam content to a processor to be recomposed into a reusable form for the next stage of a continued lifecycle. The grant program provides funding for material recovery facilities to purchase a specialized compactor known as a densifier that compresses the foam. Since foam products are more than 90% air, the densifier greatly reduces the volume of space required to store or transport it. As an example, a 48-foot truckload of baled EPS foam weighs approximately 16,000 pounds. After the foam is densified, the same truck can be packed with approximately 40,000 pounds of foam, greatly increasing cost-effectiveness.

"We're very interested in helping to inform the public that these products can and should be recycled," comments Mary Burk, Corporate Marketing with ACH Foam Technologies. "Increasing the volume of reusable foam on the consumer level is good for the environment, good for the public, and good for the many different industries that use new and recycled EPS foam for everything from commercial insulation for construction to protective packaging for wine, medicine, and refrigerated foods."

When asked what is on the horizon for the FRC and their efforts to support EPS foam recycling, Dyer suggests that the answer is hopefully more of the same. More grant applicants, more detailed investigations into applicants' reach and effectiveness, and more grant awards followed by a public information process to make consumers aware of the opportunity to recycle products that are every bit as common and reusable as those made of other materials.