Ontario Polystyrene Recycling
Foam polystyrene cups and other foodservice products are technically very easy to recycle and are currently being recycled in Canada!
While recycling them is often challenging due to unfavorable economics associated with transportation and contamination issues, single-use foam polystyrene foodservice products are not only recyclable, they are the most recycled of all single-use foodservice materials today —paper or plastic— and are currently recycled in select locations in Canada. The City of Toronto added foam cups and food containers to the City's Blue Box program in December 2008, and in fact, in Ontario approximately 90 municipalities, representing over 50 percent of all households in the province, have access to blue box programs (both curbside and depot collection) that collect post-consumer foam cups and containers. All those foam coffee cups, fast food containers, yogurt cups, bakery plates and lids, crystal drink containers, meat trays, —all household polystyrene— and white cushion packaging material no longer have to end up in landfills. They are completely recyclable!
However, due to unfavorable economics associated with transportation and contamination issues, post-consumer polystyrene foodservice products are not widely recycled currently in Canada's other provinces. It is important to point out, however, that no disposable foodservice products (e.g., plastic, paperboard, other) are recycled in a significant way owing to the same unfavorable economics. And in stark contrast to polystyrene, the reality is that single-use paperboard foodservice products (e.g., paper hot cups) are virtually not recycled because most paper foodservice products are made from multiple materials. Most of these products are coated with polyethylene plastic or wax that enable them to safely hold foods and liquids, and this makes them difficult to recycle. A few municipalities do accept them as an incidental contaminant in boxboard mixed paper collection programs.
Polystyrene Foodservice Products
Products made from Recycled Polystrene
Municipal Recycling of Polystyrene
Materials collected for recycling differ from community to community based on economic, political, demographic and societal factors.
The following provides a list of Canadian municipalities, primarily with populations of 10,000 and greater, that have been verified by Dart (as of April 2009) as collecting foodservice PS in their curbside and/or depot blue box program. Please note that our best efforts were used to make this list as accurate as possible. However, due to the many factors that can cause the status of municipal recycling programs to change, Dart cannot guarantee its absolute accuracy.
Accepting Foodservice PS curbside?
Accepting Foodservice PS at depot?
In addition, the Stewardship Ontario website www.blueboxmore.ca also provides information on the materials collected in curbside blue box for Ontario municipalities.
If further information is needed on a listed municipality, or if information is needed for a municipality not included in this list, it is recommended that you contact your local Public Works/Environmental department (i.e., whichever local government department handles recycling) directly. This is the best way to find out which specific materials are currently accepted for recycling in your city or town.
Regarding commercial recycling (from business and institutions) versus residential recycling, this is usually done directly by private firms rather than through the local municipality. You may be able to get a list of local private recyclers from your local government department that handles recycling.
Dart Recycling Programs
Recycled foam food service products can be reprocessed into building insulation, plastic lumber, and many other products. Dart is capable of reprocessing 12 million pounds of foam products annually and encourages the recycling of foam cups and foam foodservice products by offering the following options:
Drop Off Locations for the General Public
Since the early 1990's, Dart has operated several polystyrene foam drop-off locations at our North American production plants for anyone who wishes to recycle foam products. In addition we have recycling centers at our production facilities in Campbellford, Ontario in Canada and Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida in the United States. LEARN MORE
Dart also has two “portable” recycling programs: CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) and Recycla-Pak.
CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) for Large Operators
To make recycling polystyrene foam food service products easier for our customers, Dart offers the CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) program. The CARE Program helps large operators using all types of foam food service products (not just cups) cost-effectively separate the foam from other products, consolidate the collected material, and arrange to have it recycled. LEARN MORE
Recycla-Pak for Small Operators
Another Dart effort, Recycla-Pak, is a mail-back program designed for beverage service on a smaller scale. The program allows businesses such as delis or coffee shops to collect and return used foam cups in specially-designed Dart Recycla-Pak cartons, shipping prepaid. The cups are then recycled in a Dart or industry facility. LEARN MORE