Highland Park, Illinois — Highland Park city leaders today were joined by local partners to announce the results of community foam collection efforts. Since the program launched in 2011, the Highland Park community has dropped off foam products at the city’s collection site resulting in over 4,417 pounds of foam collected and recycled.
“I continue to be encouraged by the members of this community, for their engagement on issues that matter and for their commitment to creating a better future for Highland Park,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “This foam collection program is just one of many recycling programs we have here in town, but it says the most about our ongoing commitment toward a more sustainable future. Keep up the good work, Highland Park.”
The program was designed to collect foam cups (often referred to as Styrofoam, a registered trademark of Dow Chemical), other food service containers, and electronic packaging as part of Highland Park’s successful recycling efforts. This was to address the community’s concerns in 2010 about products that were not being recycled and how it was impacting the community and its natural resources. With input from the community, environmental organizations, and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO), city leaders worked with Pactiv and Dart Container, leader and the manufacturer of foam products, to address the concern.
Since that time, Dart Container has worked with the city in continuing the collection, processing, and recycling of foam products at the Firearms Training Center, which houses the collection facility. Recycled foam products from Highland Park are now being remade into protective foam packaging and "peanuts," egg cartons, picture frames, building insulation, video cassettes, toys, and office desk products.
“At Dart, we are proud of the work we have accomplished with Highland Park and we are proud of its residents for engaging on this very important environmental program,” said AnnMarie Treglia, Regional Manager, Government Affairs & the Environment for Dart Container. “With the positive results we have been seeing, we know ongoing collection efforts will be even more successful with every passing year.”
“Highland Park’s community activism has resulted in 4,417 pounds of foam diverted from landfills, and while 4,417 pounds may not sound like a lot but since foam is 95% air, it is the equivalent of four and a half full 48’ semi-trucks,” said Councilmember Steve Mandel. “While foam was the not the only product that needed to be recycled in Highland Park, this program has definitely ushered in a new way on how we approach our sustainable future in Highland Park.”
Highland Park leaders also encouraged residents to continue their recycling efforts in conjunction to the national “America Recycles Day,” held on November 15. The national recycling rate has increased every year since 1980 and is currently 34 percent. “America Recycles Day” encourages people across the country to learn about what materials are collected for recycling in their communities and to take action by reducing their own waste and personally committing to recycling.
An opportunity to do so will be this upcoming holiday season when many families will be disposing of packaging materials that accompany many holiday gifts. Foam products, such as packaging materials, can be recycled at the collection site located at the Firearms Training Center on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7am to 1pm.
“SWALCO is very proud of its foam recycling program here in Highland Park,” said Walt Willis, Executive Director of SWALCO. “Highland Park has had so much success with these efforts that we are now hoping the communities of Deerfield, Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, Lake Bluff, and Highwood will take advantage of this service. We believe the numbers from holiday recycling will produce big results that will only encourage action throughout the county.”
For more information on what can be recycled, visit the Highland Park website: http://www.cityhpil.com/index.aspx?NID=335.
About Dart Container
Established in 1937, Dart Container sets the industry standard of excellence by providing high quality, recyclable, affordable, and safe foodservice products and packaging, exceptionally reliable service and responsible environmental practices. Dart is making a concerted effort to increase foam recycling opportunities throughout the country and strives to produce high-quality, cost-effective products in a manner sensitive to environmental concerns. Dart is headquartered in Mason, Michigan. For more information, visit www.dart.biz/recycle or call (800) 248-5960.