If you look at the bottom of a Styrofoam cup you will find a universal recycling symbol with the number 6 in the center, denoting the type of plastic from which the cup is made. All plastics are labeled in this system, however, this particular form of plastic is NOT accepted in your recycling bin.
Why is that?
Polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, is recyclable in some parts of the country, yet most Materials Recovery Facilities still do not accept it as part of their recycling program. This is the case with all recycling facilities that American Disposal Services is currently using. Please refrain from putting any form of Styrofoam in your recycling bin.
Despite the fact that it can be recycled in some areas, much of the Styrofoam we use is contaminated with food or drink and is not even acceptable at a drop-off site or a mail-back recycling program. Because of this, we end up with no other choice than to throw the material into a trash can to be taken to sit in a landfill. The biggest issue with this is that polystyrene does not break down at all. And, although polystyrene only comprises about 2 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream by weight, it comprises roughly 30% of the total volume in the landfill due to its excessive use in packaging.
Simple Solution to a BIG Problem
Imagine how much of an impact we could make if we all did not use Styrofoam products for one day? One week? One month?
Changing your lifestyle to be Styrofoam-free will not be easy for some, as old habits are always hard to break. In trying to break our own habits, American Disposal Services will be Styrofoam-free for one week: June 13-17. The hope is that in one week’s time, our own office will realize how easy it is to bring a reusable cup to work each day. In the end, we will all become a little less dependent on Styrofoam. Please encourage your family, coworkers, and your community to participate in making this positive step for our environment.
*Note: Packing peanuts, so commonly used in the shipping industry, are being replaced by biodegradable options. Many of these alternatives are made from corn-based products and are therefore a much healthier alternative to the Styrofoam packing peanut.