Update to our Polystyrene story: Since the last edition, Iíve had some local success. I went back to my beginning steps and did a new search for a local polystyrene recycler - and surprisingly a new name showed up. I called to confirm, and was told that they do take polystyrene, and that they just started this new program within the last month. I was thrilled!
I drove 15 minutes away to drop off the coolers (I had now accumulated 2 coolers from my friend), and found this great facility. It was a drive up location, and I was immediately greeted at my car by a worker. She quickly asked me to NOT get out of my car, and that they would get it out for me. She did ask me for my ID to verify I am a local resident. Another worker came out to help, went to the back of my car, and found the 2 coolers.
I was then told they canít take these coolers because there was no #6 marked on the cooler. I explained that I had called and was told that they take polystyrene, but was again told that if there is no #6, they canít take it. I was then told that I need to just put it in the trash (!!!!!). I told the worker that they should NOT be telling residents to put this material in the trash. He went and spoke to his manager, and continued to say they canít take the coolers. I asked to speak to the manager. The manager came out, saw the coolers and changed his mind, explaining to the other employees that this material will break down, so itís recyclable. The former employee opposed again, and disagreed, that if it doesnít have the #6, then they canít take it, and walked away. Again, the manager explained that if itís this particular polystyrene (breakable) material, then they can take it.
I asked the manager what will happen to these coolers now. He said, ďWe will take care of them.Ē I asked for specifics, since I donít want them dumping these into the trash and ending up in a landfill. He reassured me they wouldnít and that when I drive around front, we will see a big blue dumpster full of the same material, and that their recycling company provides some big bags for them to put the pieces into, and they will come to take them away and get recycled. The company is Dart Containers, who I plan to get in touch with soon. Obviously Ė some education needs to take place for these local facility workers.
So my issue was solved, however, looking at the polystyrene recycling map, there are many residents throughout the U.S. who donít have nearby recycling access like I do. So, stay tuned - I have an update from the food provider, and the logistics provider, and hope to get in touch with the cooler manufacturer, looking for more information on the FDA regulations and the procedure and cost to sterilizing a used polystyrene cooler.
This wonít be an easy or quick process, which is unfortunate for the consumers, but hopefully weíll find a solutions provider who might be able to find an answer.
RL Magazine Editor