As many of you know from reading our blog posts, FPI is very
interested in working proactively to encourage the recovery of foodservice
packaging after it has been used. Those
of us at FPI routinely speak about the importance of finding the highest and
best use for used foodservice packaging, and capitalizing on the valuable
resources packaging can provide. FPI’s Paper Recovery Alliance and Plastics
Recovery Group have been working hard over the past few years to show that
voluntary efforts can truly make a difference.
Last October, FPI added another special interest group to its fold, and
founded the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC).
The goal of the FRC is to support
the recycling of post-consumer expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging. What do we mean when we say EPS packaging? Well, of course, polystyrene foam foodservice
packaging, such as cups, containers and dinnerware; processor trays; egg
cartons; and transport packaging.
which includes many partners across the polystyrene marketplace, determined the
best next step after their formation would be to fund a multi-year grant
program to assist residential material recovery facilities (MRFs) in recycling
post-consumer polystyrene foam. For the
several months following their October formation, coalition members were hard
at work putting all of the pieces in place for this grant program. And
all of that hard work is about to come to fruition.
Just last week, the
FRC announced the launch of its grant program.
The desire is to provide foam recycling equipment and technical
assistance to grant recipients.
Applicants are being sought from both private and public businesses, involved
in managing residential curbside recycling programs, drop-off recycling centers
and commercial recycling programs. Material recovery facilities looking to add
or strengthen a polystyrene foam program are expected to apply for
funding. Grant amounts will be
determined on a case-by-cases basis, depending on equipment needs. If you happen to be someone interested in
learning more about the grant application process, visit us here for more information!
As you can probably
tell, building a grant program has involved some intense work to come up with
the qualifications for applicants and will take even more work to determine who
our grant recipients will be, but for me, here’s the real kicker: there is real excitement around recycling of
EPS packaging! Many cities around the
U.S. and Canada are already recycling EPS packaging, and there seem to be
plenty more who want to! Our response to
the FRC grant program has been even better than we thought. Phone calls and emails have flooded us and we
are really pleased with the number of communities and businesses who are
seeking to apply for the grants.
The FRC continues
to grow as well. With the growth of our
coalition comes more funding, which means more dollars can be put to good use
as grant dollars, and we have even more potential to do even greater
things. If you are a part of the EPS packaging
industry and, like these companies, want to become a coalition member, Lynn and I would be happy to hear from you too.
Stay tuned to hear
more about the FRC and our future grant recipients this spring. I have a feeling there will be some good
stories to share!