A recycled products manufacturer located in Columbus, OH has found a new use for recycled polystyrene foam waste. Weisenbach Recycled Products now manufactures and sells for consumer purchase the ‘P.S. stick pen,’ a writing utensil made of 50 percent post-consumer recycled foam waste. This product is made using polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company, which is found in a wide variety of foodservice items ranging from cups to take-out containers.
The process of manufacturing the PS stick pen began a few years ago when Weisenbach president, Dan Weisenbach, decided to challenge himself with implementing foam waste into new products. While some experiments with implementing the foam were more successful than others, the Weisenbach team found that the recycled polystyrene worked best when injected with other materials into the shape of a hollow tube. Because this is the proper shape for a pen, the PS stick pen became a true possibility.
Now in full production, each pen produced contains the recycled material equivalent to that of one standard foam cup. While the organization has labeled the manufacturing of the PS stick pen a success, they are choosing to not stop there. According to Weisenbach, “Our goal as a company is to produce useful products from recycled materials. We actually seek discarded items and commodities which don’t already have viable solutions once recovered from the waste stream.”
Weisenbach also comments that he was inspired by Dart Container Corporation’s commitment to recycling polystyrene foam waste, which spurred his own initial experiments with the product. Dart has also implemented their own recycling initiatives throughout several communities across the US. For example, the CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) program makes it easy for any organization or individual to recycle polystyrene foam cups. This program provides users with a densifying device to compress collected foam waste, which is then purchased by participating manufacturers to be made into new products.