Getting rid of packing Styrofoam
It seems that the "only" option in my location (Connecticut) is to use a "mail in" option to dispose of a lot of packing Styrofoam type material. This would require me to crush and pack (using more cardboard packing material), and ship the stuff out.
I have enough to fill the back of my car. Been researching this for literally years and have never found a solution other than to "deliver it" myself out to another state near by. I would be happy to drive 50 miles to get rid of this stuff just to "save the environment" but honestly there isn't anything remotely close to me or that I can find anywhere in the state of Connecticut.
I'm 73 years old and frankly do not have the time or money to waste on this "problem". I'm hoping someone here has a suggestion ??
Thanks .. Rich
Wizard, you're suffering from one of the great gaps in recycling. Styrofoam, which is a trademark for expanded polystyrene, is not recycled widely. It costs about $1,000 to get $500 worth of recovered materials from expanded polystyrene because most of it is air. Some cities subsidize recycling of Styrofoam.
New technologies to process expanded polystyrene are appearing but have not been commercialized yet. For example, this article discusses a portable machine in the experimental stage: https://earth911.com/eco-tech/innovative-recycling-system-crushes-styrofoam-overload/
This isn't the news you wanted to hear, of course. But stay tuned, there may be a solution soon.
If you have a local pack + ship center in your area, they might be willing to take and re-use it. That's what I do with any non-recyclable packaging materials that I receive. Not sure if it's an option in your area, but worth taking a look!
I can think of two ways to make recycling of these materials happen:
- legally compel people to recycle, or not to use it at all. The later is hopefully easier. BTW, does this site list initiatives for plastic bans movements and other such things (I am new)? If so could you point me at it? Otherwise, this might be a good place for organizing people.
- monetize it and make it widely available to people. I can't find this easily available. For example, there is a place in Flushing, NYC that accepts styrofoam but it is one hour away from us. I would have to waste half a day to deposit styrofom there. We just have bought furniture for a $1000. I would gladly pay $20-30 to give my styrofoam packaging here, at my place. Perhaps its a business idea. If nobody does it, maybe I will think of it more later...
Alexei, Thanks for your comments! We have articles that provide links to ban campaigns but do not have a centralized list. That's a great idea.
The challenge with Styrofoam and other expanded polystyrenes is the air in the material, which makes recover less efficient than with other forms of plastic.
We are encouraged to hear your idea about pick-up services. It's something we are working on!