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New home for plastic foam

New home for plastic foam

Finally a local place to recycle your plastic foam containers! I read this article in the Olympian the other day and thought it was worth passing along.

Enjoy! Zeta

New home for plastic foam

Recycle: Tumwater site takes stuff that was garbage

JOHN DODGE; The Olympian | • Published November 09, 2009

TUMWATER – Add plastic foam products such as cups, plates and food take-out trays to the list of items that can be recycled in South Sound.

Dart Container Corp., a Tumwater-based manufacturer of plastic foam food and beverage containers, has opened a drop box to accept these items from the public for free.

It’s one of the few sites in the state to provide recycling for a family of products that otherwise end up consuming space in regional landfills.

"This is long overdue," Michael Westerfield, Dart’s director of recycling programs, said at a grand-opening ceremony for the drop-off center last week. “We’ve been pushing for this program a long time.”

In Thurston County, 1,465 tons, or about 0.83 percent, of garbage sent to the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center at Hawks Prairie each year are plastic foam products, said Terri Thomas, an education and outreach specialist at Thurston County Solid Waste.

Because the plastic foam products are about 95 percent air, the percent per volume of garbage is much greater.

“We are extremely excited that Dart has brought foam recycling to our area,” Thomas said. “This important initiative arms our community with the ability to proactively reduce waste.”

Westerfield and Thomas said the long-range goal is to expand the South Sound recycling options for plastic foam to include more drop boxes. Some curbside recycling programs in Southern California have added plastic foam products to the list of items they recover.

The increase in plastic foam recycling and re-use comes as a number of communities have imposed or are considering bans on plastic foam food containers and cups. For instance, a plastic foam ban affecting the food-service industry goes into effect in Seattle on July 1.

“It’s important to do it because customers want it,” Westerfield said of the increased industry emphasis on recycling. “People aren’t going to accept a throw-away item.”

The plastic foam products recycled outside the Dart plant in Tumwater must bear the number 6. They include products covered by the trade name Styrofoam and molded plastic foam used to package electronics.

Once collected, the plastic foam products are run through a compactor capable of converting 4,116 eight-ounce cups into a 40-pound block of material the size of a small suitcase.

Recycled foam food service products can be reprocessed into building insulation, plastic lumber, picture frames and other items.

John Dodge: 360-754-5444

Recycling do’s and don'ts

Dart Container Corp. has opened a plastic foam recycling center for free public use at 600 Israel Road S.E., Tumwater. Here’s how it works:

  • The bin accepts plastic foam cups, plates, take-out food containers, egg cartons and molded foam used to package electronics.
  • Rinse the containers free of food and place them in a clear plastic bag for drop-off.
  • The recycling station does not accept straws, lids, or packaging peanuts.
  • The bin is available for use seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Reprinted from the Olympian newpaper