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ST. Lucie County, Florida Expands Foam Polystyrene Recycling Program
Released 12/8/2020

St. Lucie County, FL residents and businesses will now be able to recycle more foam polystyrene products, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition.

After starting a single stream program in 2014, St. Lucie County has seen a continuous increase in the tonnage being processed at the St. Lucie Materials Recovery Facility, as well as continued engagement with residents on their recycling efforts. On average, the St. Lucie MRF processes 200 to 300 tons of recyclables per day and has a contamination rate as low as 15% to 18%, which it believes shows the commitment of their residents to the recycling effort. In the last few years, the county has received numerous questions and interest in foam recycling. Unable to provide curbside service for this material, the county hopes the drop-off recycling site for foam will meet resident requests.

The county’s drop-off recycling facility currently accepts corrugated cardboard, mixed paper, #3-7 plastics, steel, and aluminum. Now the new foam densifier is installed, the facility can accept clean foam packaging from televisions, appliances, computers and furniture, as well as clean foodservice packaging, such as egg cartons, coffee cups, light colored meat trays and foam coolers.

The county serves about 310,000 residents and nearly 123,000 households. “The new grant funding allows us to expand our current collection program and help us satisfy our residents’ requests for increasing recycling efforts within our county,” said Rebecca Olson, Assistant Director for St. Lucie County Solid Waste and Recycling. “With the growing concern from residents regarding how to recycle foam polystyrene, we know the participation in the program will be high, so with the help of this grant to expand our capabilities, we know this program will be a success.”

“St. Lucie County has residents who are passionate about recycling and the county has an amazing opportunity to address this need and provide new services for foam recycling to a population that truly is driven to keep these valuable materials from being landfilled,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which houses the Foam Recycling Coalition.

The grant is made possible through contributions to the FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; NOVA Chemicals Corp.; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; Republic Plastics; and TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining USA.

St. Lucie County, Florida, is the 16th grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 4 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients, or apply for a grant.

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