January 7, 2013
Just in case you've got a stash of polystyrene foam waste weighing on your conscience: This month only, there's another option besides trashing it.
The Monterey Regional Waste Management District and Waste Management, Inc. are joining up to offer a month of free polystyrene foam recycling.
The plastic packaging material commonly (although incorrectly) known as styrofoam is notorious for its propensity to litter beaches, harm marine life, take up landfill space and persist in the environment, where it breaks into small pieces but never really goes away.
All Monterey County jurisdictions, with the exception of Sand City, have adopted bans on take-out polystyrene foam containers. But the material can still be found in packaging, from electronics to shipping boxes to grocery-store meat.
People can drop off their polystyrene foam (except for packing peanuts, which can be taken to local UPS stores for re-use) at the MRWMD recycling drop-off area at 14201 Del Monte Blvd. just north of Marina, through Jan. 31.
The foam collected in the drive will be taken to Waste Management's Castroville facility, where it will be "densified," according to a MRWMD press release, and sent off to be recycled into architectural molding "and other extruded products."
The American Chemistry Council, a plastics industry group, argued in opposition to the local polystyrene foam bans that the material is recyclable. While true in theory, significant polystyrene foam recycling has not taken hold in California curbside recycling programs for logistical reasons.