Foam Recycling Dispel Worries about New Plastics Restrictions in Washington

While continuously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry worries about new Plastics Restrictions in Washington. To reduce plastic waste and encourage the use of recycled products, the bill only allows a restaurant to provide recyclable single-use containers. Beginning in January, unless customers request, the restaurant’s ability to provide disposable plastic forks, spoons, knives, or straws will be restricted. By the middle of 2023, the use of foam containers made of plastics, such as “clamshell” takeaway boxes, will be banned. This is not ideal. As a matter of fact, foam recycling is much better than foam banning.

Reel from the pandemic in-house restaurant service restrictions, restaurants are turning to take-out, and the demand for take-out containers increases, and so does the cost. However, restaurants will need to use post-consumer recycled containers to replace foam containers at a higher cost. It is said that a pack of 200 foam containers costs about $34, while a container with the same number of recyclable materials is $67. Moreover, cutlery, straws, and lids made of recyclable foam materials are also more expensive than plastic containers.

The Plastics Restrictions will actively damage the economic recovery. To make things worse, it will cause severe damage to such restaurants in the pandemic. Foam materials can help restaurant owners survive difficult times. It will not cause pollution if the government issues policies and requires restaurants to recycle foams. The restaurant owners will support it without hesitation because they will cut costs and benefit a lot.

Once the foam containers are recycled, it needs to be sorted, and most importantly, it needs to be compacted, which requires a piece of special equipment called a “foam densifier”. Equipped with this special foam recycling machine, a large number of waste foam containers can be turned into dense ingots and further processed into new products like photo frames, which can be sold in the market again to develop the circular economy in the United States.