Posted by: Jeff Knapp
There is a misconception that Styrofoam TM (Expandable PolyStyrene or EPS) is not recyclable and that is wrong. EPS recycling is growing stronger every day. Styrofoam TM or EPS is the number "6" recycling plastic and it must be reduced or compacted to make it feasible to ship to a plastics recycler. It has become a coveted raw material for recyclers and they are discovering a wide range of markets for it.
A full trailer load of loosely stacked EPS foam will only weigh approximately 2000 pounds. After the foam is run through a compactor or densifier 40,000 pounds or more can go on that same trailer and now it is cost effective for shipping. A screw compactor can take a 1 pound per cubic foot piece of Styrofoam and reduce the volume to as much as 20 pounds per cubic foot. This compactor or densifier can also process other types of foam.
There needs to be bigger push for all types of recycling, Styrofoam included. It's plain and simple, recycling still costs more than landfilling in many locations - it's all about the cost.
So how do we curb the landfilling? Just like we do for alcohol, cigarettes and gambling, we create a sin tax that would increase the cost of landfilling. This tax money is then used for recycling efforts: setting up recycling locations, paying workers and purchasing equipment, like the EPS compactor.