The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) recently announced the winners of their 2013 Environmental Stewardship Awards which recognizes organizations that demonstrate a high level of leadership within their industry and have made significant achievements throughout the year. The Plastics Environmental Division (PED) of SPE presented MCS Industries, Inc. of Easton, PA with an award in the “Plastics Recycling Technologies and Applications” category for their work in recycling post-consumer products that are often handled ineffectively, such as expanded polystyrene foam (EPS). Polystyrene foam is often referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company, and is the material that makes up many forms of single-use foodservice items, such as take-out containers and hot beverage cups.
Earlier this year MCS implemented a process to make sure that polystyrene foam products, which would otherwise end up in landfills, are effectively recycled and converted to the materials used in the high quality picture frames they distribute. As the leading supplier of frames and wall décor throughout the US and Canada, it’s important that MCS uses environmentally responsible techniques within their large-scale production process.The organization accomplishes this by using a densifying technique that compresses polystyrene foam to a fraction of its size; the compressed material is then repurposed and used in the production of MCS frames and other consumer products. This innovative process has not yet been adapted by other production companies, which is why MCS was presented with the top honor by SPE.
Michigan-based Dart Container Corporation is encouraging organizations to do exactly what MCS has done with their business model. Dart works with several organizations to help implement foam recycling programs. The CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) program, for example, promotes the recycling of single-use foam cups by providing users with their own densifying device to compress foam waste. The material is then purchased by manufacturers for use in the production of new items, similar to what MCS has accomplished.