WASHINGTON — A new grant program aimed at boosting expanded polystyrene foam recycling efforts and dispelling the assumption that foam is not recyclable is launching this spring.
The Foam Recycling Coalition, part of the Foodservice Packaging Institute based in suburban Washington, will award grants ranging from an estimated $15,000 to $50,000 to both public and private entities in April.
Targeting post-consumer EPS such as food service packaging, egg cartons, meat trays and protective shipping packaging, the grants will go to those involved in managing residential curbside recycling programs, drop-off recycling centers and commercial recycling programs, according to a Foodservice Packaging Institute news release. Material recovery facilities also are expected to apply for funding, the group said, especially those looking to add or strengthen a polystyrene foam program.
“Dozens of cities in the U.S. and Canada already recycle foam, keeping it out of landfills,” said Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, in the release. “With growing end-market demand for foam and improvements in foam equipment and handling, this new grant program serves as a catalyst to increased residential foam recycling.”
EPS, from packing peanuts to food service cups, has come under fire in the last several years, with municipal bans such as the newly announced one in New York City leaving consumers with the misapprehension that foam is not recyclable when the truth is that recycling is possible — but most local governments do not want to take on the costs of machinery and setting up a program.
Grant amounts will be determined case-by-case and based on equipment needs. Grantees will be expected to inform their local communities about the addition of PS foam to their recycling program and will also be expected to commit to collecting, processing and marketing polystyrene foam for a minimum of three years and report their volumes to the Foam Recycling Coalition.
The application deadline is March 16. More information and grant applications are available at www.fpi.org/recyclefoam.