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“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.

Its 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…

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…

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…

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,” from The Olympian.

Posted by Steve on December 5, 2009 at 4:54 am | Permalink

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