A county in Nova Scotia is leveraging an industry grant to open the door to accepting expanded polystyrene in its curbside recycling program.
Colchester County, with a population of about 50,000 residents, will move forward with the addition, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition.
The grant will allow residents and commercial outlets to add EPS, including egg cartons and meat trays, to their recycling bins.
“Colchester demonstrated to us a strong desire and commitment to recycle foam, which is exactly what we’re looking for from our grant winners,” Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which houses the coalition, stated in a press release. “In particular, their customer communications and outreach plans will highlight how easy it is to recycle and process foam.”
The county will use the money to upgrade its materials recovery facility and purchase equipment densifying EPS so it can be efficiently transported to reclaimers.
“Although it has long been recognized that polystyrene products are a valuable commodity, the expense of shipping a product to market that is mostly air has deterred the recycling of this material,” Wayne Wamboldt, director of waste management for Colchester County, stated in the press release. “Now, with recent developments in densifying equipment, it is possible to get recycled polystyrene material to markets in a cost effective manner.”
The county will be among the first to recycle EPS in the province. Kings County became the first county in the province to offer curbside EPS collections when it launched a program in November 2014.
Across Canada, 45 municipalities provide curbside collections for foam, according to homeforfoam.com, a Dart Container Corp. website. Halifax, by far the largest city in Nova Scotia, tells its residents to throw EPS in the garbage.
Colchester County is the first Foam Recycling Coalition grant recipient outside the U.S.