The Environmental Sustainability Commission and the city of Hilliard held a recycling event in October at which 7,250 pounds of paper, 6,189 pounds of electronics, and 47 cubic yards of Styrofoam were collected from folks in approximately 265 cars. Residents who wanted to take part in the event only need to drive their car to the community center, and then ESC staff would unload the Styrofoam waste from the car.
What's special about this campaign is that it has organized Styrofoam recycling, which is not accepted in most roadside recycling program.
Hilliard’s Environmental Sustainability Commission is an advisory commission to City Council. They aim to provide resources to residents and businesses in their efforts to divert difficult-to-recycle material away from the landfill. Over the past few years, they have held a lot of recycling projects, such as recycling empty candy wrappers on Halloween and Easter and recycling old holiday lights at Hilliard’s tree lighting celebration, while the most popular activity is Styrofoam recycling. Believe it or not, this event is the sixth annual Styrofoam recycling project of Hilliard ESC.
Why does ESC sponsor Styrofoam recycling?
It is said that Styrofoam can take up 30 percent of the space in some landfills. Once in the landfill, the decomposition would take at least 500 years. Further, the lightweight material is easily carried into waterways and oceans through the wind, which does great harm to the environment. Only Styrofoam recycling is able to save Styrofoam from this dilemma. As an environmental protection organization, the environmental sustainability Commission will certainly not allow Styrofoam to drift freely and destroy the ecology.
However, there are still some problems with Styrofoam recycling nowadays.
Since Styrofoam is not included in recycling programs of most regions, it is mistakenly considered a non-recyclable material. Actually, Styrofoam is 100% recyclable, and more than 136 million pounds of Styrofoam were recycled in the United States in 2018.
95% of Styrofoam consists of the air that makes it bulky and hard to dispose of directly so that the cost of Styrofoam transport and storage is prohibitive.
Used Styrofoam food containers require cleaning before being processed and recycled, which increases the cost of Styrofoam recycling and reduces the economic feasibility.
Despite these issues, supported by the new Styrofoam recycling project, waste Styrofoam can be easily recycled.
The initiative, co-sponsored by INTCO and Rebirth of Foam (ROF), is designed to serve as a consultant for business customers planning to get access to Styrofoam recycling projects.
Styrofoam Recycling Specialist in this program would calculate the return on investment on the basis of customers’ situation and provide complete solutions, like saving storage space, landfill costs, and warehouse operations.