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With a Little Help From Our Friends, Foam Recycling Gets a Boost!

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.   FPIs 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.  

The coalition, 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, heres 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!

Posted By Natha Dempsey (Vice President) | 1/21/2015 10:03:27 AM