“Recycla-Pak”, a foam cup recycling program for small businesses, is now available in California from Dart Container Corporation through its network of wholesalers. Recycla-Pak provides a special bin for collecting used foam cups that, once full, can be sealed and shipped back for recycling of the cups, freight prepaid.
Delivered to customers in a “kit”, Recycla-Pak contains all that is needed for in-house foam cup recycling—a collection bin, divider for “nesting” the cups within the bin, plastic liner bag, and display poster to guide patrons to the cup collection point. The collection bin is labeled with recycling instructions to encourage participation as well as proper use. A pre-printed shipping label attached to the bin allows the operator to arrange for easy transport of the used cups to the recycling facility.
Once the cups are returned for recycling, the actual polystyrene foam recycling process is simple. First, the foam is ground into small pieces called "fluff." After washing and drying, the "fluff" is heated and pushed through a die in an extruder. Once cooled, the recycled polystyrene is chopped into pellets which can be made into a variety of durable consumer goods like building insulation, decorative moulding, and picture frames. Because polystyrene is a thermoplastic, it can be recycled over and over again.
According to a peer-reviewed independent study by Franklin Associates, an average-weight paper hot cup with a cardboard sleeve requires 47% more energy to produce, and results in 181% more waste by weight, than a comparable foam cup. In addition, studies conclude that a ceramic mug would need to be washed and reused over 1000 times before it becomes as energy efficient as using a foam cup—even before recycling is considered.
With Recycla-Pak, Dart now offers foam cup recycling opportunities for both small business operators as well as large institutional operators more suited for its existing CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) Program. Dart also operates seven foam drop-off locations at its production plants for collecting polystyrene foam. Dart reprocesses the collected foam at locations in Mason, Michigan; Leola, Pennsylvania; Plant City, Florida; and Campbellford, Ontario, Canada. Together these centers can reprocess over twelve million pounds of polystyrene annually.
Dart Container Corporation is a worldwide manufacturer of insulated foam cups and other quality foodservice packaging products. For more information on Recycla-Pak, or additional information on Dart products and their environmental attributes, visit our website at www.dart.biz or call our toll-free environmental hotline at 1-800-288-CARE.