Once the volume of foam is determined and a recycler secured, the next
step is to design an effective collection program. At this stage, the goal is to intercept foam recyclables before they go into the waste stream. Keep in mind that the success of any program depends on quality control: the ability to separate high-quality recyclable foam packaging that meets the recycler’s specifications from the trash.
When designing a foam recycling program, pay particular attention to:
• Determining any equipment and storage needs
• Training personnel to separate foam
Equipment and Storage Needs
Collection areas for foam packaging should be separate from other recyclables, kept clean and have easy access for loading. Foam can be stacked, bagged, baled or densified depending on the recycler’s requirements. Increase the effectiveness of the foam recycling program by making it as easy and convenient as possible to recycle.
Outside storage bins: If collected foam awaiting pick-up by the recycler is stored outside, a suitable storage area is needed. It must be clean, dry and closed to outside elements since lightweight foam can be blown about in windy areas. Wet, dirty foam is not recyclable. Storage bins may be obtained from the recycler or design a method of containment, as long as it satisfies health and safety requirements. Place storage bins in a secured area that is convenient for the recycler.
Baling equipment: To maximize storage capacity, consider installing a small, on-site baler, or use an existing corrugated baler. If the volume of foam is very large, a small foam compactor may be useful.