Redding receives grant to recycle plastic foam
REDDING, Calif. – The Redding Solid Waste Transfer Station is expanding and will soon add foam polystyrene to its list of recyclable material.
The city received a $49,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition to help pay for a densifier, which will help them cover most of the cost of the machinery. The rest of the money is coming from the Public Works budget.
Before this grant, the transfer station did not have the capabilities to compact plastic foam enough in order to recycle.
Public Works Supervisor Christina Piles said this was a project that the city has been looking at for a few years and hope to kick off the program by early next year.
“So I added it to our budget and I was reading through a trade publication and I saw this grant opportunity,” said Piles.
The city must first approve the densifier selected by Piles before construction can begin. Piles said it could take up to two months for that and hoped to have the equipment by Christmas.
“We’ll be able to take the big chunky blocks; as long as things are clean we can take meat trays, egg cartons, clean Styrofoam cups,” said Piles.
Once started, customers will be able to bring foam products to the transfer station drop-off site like other recyclable materials. Once that phase is complete, Piles said she would look into expanding the program even further and possibly add foam to the list of materials that can be collected in a normal curbside bin.
“It takes up a lot of landfill space it doesn’t break down, but once it’s densified it’s a highly marketable commodity and it’s actually worth money,” said Piles.
In order to ship densified polystyrene, the city must collect at least 40,000 pounds. Piles said from last she looked the market rate for polystyrene was 30 cents per pound.
“We get a lot of customers that come in and recycle, they bring in their boxes here to the drop off area and almost every single one is ‘Oh I would love to recycle this Styrofoam’,” said Piles.
Piles has reached out to cities who have similar programs and expects Redding’s program to start out slow but pick up once the word gets out.
“When you start looking around at how many products are made out of it, you’ll be shocked. So if you get a plastic picture frame, that clear plastic front on a CD case a lot of yogurt cups,” said Piles.
During the holidays Piles suggested for customers to save any foam they may get in packages and bring them in by January to recycle.
Piles said the only product they cannot recycle is package peanuts because there are several varieties and not all of them are made of polystyrene.