How many times this week have you used foam containers and packaging made of polystyrene?
From your morning coffee or snack, to new home and office supplies protected by foam polystyrene to picking up a bakery tray of goodies on the way home from work…polystyrene (PS) foam containers and packaging enter our lives in many ways every single day, and with good reason!
It can be a great packaging choice because it’s lightweight, low cost, strong, insulating, it’s also sanitary and very recyclable. PS keeps products safe and clean and cost-effectively maintains preferred temperatures.
Polystyrene is Recyclable!
Polystyrene is 100% recyclable and about 35% of Canadian communities accept PS food and in their recycling programs and some others offer drop-off locations for clean polystyrene. This is lower than other materials and offers opportunities for improvement. The problem is that PS foam is bulky – filled with 90% air, so it’s expensive to collect from households and ship to processors.
Increasingly communities are using systems to ‘densify’ the foam – pushing out the air– to help make shipping more cost-effective. In some systems a densified load of polystyrene can carry up to 20 tonnes of plastic where it would have carried less than one tonne of loose, bulky material.
What is CPIA Doing?
CPIA works with municipalities to increase PS recycling, in depot collection programs and in retailer take-back operations. We also conduct annual studies to track recycling rates and look for new opportunities to provide resources to help increase polystyrene recovery.
- CPIA Fact Sheet on Polystyrene: 2013
- Markets (Brokers & Buyers) for Foam Polystyrene (2013)
- EPS & XPS Polystyrene Foam Recycling (2012)
- Polystyrene Recycling News: Markets & Access Expanding (Current to 2013)
- One in three Canadians have access to recycling PS; this is largely in Ontario, New Brunswick, and BC. We’re working to grow these opportunities.
- PS is 100% recyclable and comes back to life in items like picture frames, coat hangers, office supplies, construction products and more, using less energy to produce these new materials.
- On average, PS takes up less than 1% landfill space.
- Find out about recycling PS: Recycling Polystyrene and Expanded Polystyrene (Moore Recycling Associates, 2014)
For more information: see Recycling Resources
What's Happening in Communities Across Canada
- Pointe-Claire , PQ - 2016
- Kentville , NS
- Colchester, NS Latest Grant Recipeint from Foam Recycling Coalition
- Dorval HHW and ICT Waste Pickup New Addition This Year: Polystyrene Pickup April 2016
- Press Release: Écocentre LaSalle Déménagement et recyclage du polystyrène font bon ménage Le 1erer juillet recherchez le numéro 6 ! May, 2014
- Press Release: Post-Consumer Polystyrene Recycling Pilot Project at the LaSalle Ecocenter Oct. 2013
- Newspaper Ad
- CBC News Coverage
- Ontario New PS Foam Densifier Start Up for Municipalities
- Nanaimo, BC
- North Okanagan, BC
- Cowichan Valley, BC
- Langley, BC Participates in Test PS Packaging Recycling Project Blue + 2
- News Release - Study shows that the future British Columbia blue box could include plastic bags and overwrap and foam polystyrene packaging and significantly increase recycling
- Final Report,The City of Langley “Blue + 2” Pilot
- BC Communities Recycling PS Foam Nov. 2012
- Markham, ON
- Grand Prairie, AB
- Moncton, NB
- Dartmouth, NS
- Sherbrooke, QC 2012