Keep California Beautiful has recognized a Fontana-based business for its innovative foam recycling program that has been implemented throughout the Southern California region. Burrtec Waste Industries has developed a program targeted towards responsibly recycling foam, sometimes mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam® (a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company), which is working to further the fact that recycling such products is an easy and economical option for businesses.
While there have been efforts in some California cities to ban single-use foam takeout containers – an attempt based on the notion that this could be considered to be more environmentally conscious – Burrtec is proof that there is a better solution…Recycling. Not only does recycling address the end of life for foam, it also creates jobs. In order to recycle, foam cups and packaging are collected and taken to companies, including one located in Southern California, which then manufacture the foam material into new items, such as architectural molding and picture frames. Since implementing this program in 2010, Burrtec has collected, sorted, processed and shipped 282,000 pounds of foam for recycling.
Maintaining this path of developing more recycling programs for single-use products is crucial not only from an environmental impact standpoint, but also from an economic point of view. Thousands of restaurants in Southern California use foam cups and containers every day, and would be severely impacted by a foam ban. In fact, 650 restaurants and local Chambers of Commerce in California have come together and signed a coalition letter opposing SB 568. This legislation, which did not pass, would have banned foam containers and not only put an economic strain on restaurants, but also have an effect on thousands of manufacturing jobs. Burrtec and other businesses provide a responsible way to dispose of foam waste without eliminating jobs.
Dart Container Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of polystyrene foam, is also implementing successful recycling initiatives for these products. For example, Dart’s CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) program works by first collecting foam that has been compressed to a fraction of its original size by a provided densifying device. The compressed foam is then recycled into new products, an outcome much similar to that of the Burrtec process.