Lifestyle

Styrofoam connection: City sponsors recycling effort

Federal Way resident Keith Ono suggested the city collect and recycle Styrofoam blocks following the holiday season. The collection was successful and the city is now looking to continue offering the service. Ono, on Jan. 13, posed with the 15-cubic yards of Styrofoam the city collected since Dec. 28.  - Courtesy image
Federal Way resident Keith Ono suggested the city collect and recycle Styrofoam blocks following the holiday season. The collection was successful and the city is now looking to continue offering the service. Ono, on Jan. 13, posed with the 15-cubic yards of Styrofoam the city collected since Dec. 28.
— image credit: Courtesy image

An environmentally friendly suggestion by a Federal Way resident helped direct 15 cubic yards worth of Styrofoam blocks to a recycler instead of a landfill.

The city began a temporary Styrofoam block collection site at City Hall a few weeks ago after resident Keith Ono suggested it. Individuals have responded positively to the city's offer to recycle the material. Now, the city is furthering its collection period and looking to continue the service on a permanent basis.

"When you get something like (Styrofoam), unless you're aware of a place that uses it or collects it, all it does is fill up your garbage can," Ono said.

Since Dec. 28, individuals have dropped off enough Styrofoam blocks to fill 30 yard waste carts (96 gallons each), city spokeswoman Linda Farmer said. Ono said he is impressed with the amount of materials residents have made in an effort to recycle.

"I was surprised because, a lot of times, especially since this had been the first effort, it takes a while to get these things going," he said.

The recycling service was due to expire Jan. 15, but due to its popularity, the service has been extended until Jan. 22. Only clean Styrofoam blocks are accepted. Styrofoam peanuts, cups, food trays and foam sheeting is not accepted. The blocks can be dropped off at City Hall, 33325 8th Ave. S., Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Styrofoam blocks are not accepted as part of the city's regular garbage service contract with Waste Management. To recycle the material, individuals must currently hand-deliver it to a collection site. V&G Styro Recycle in Renton is the closest recycling location. But making a special trip to Renton to recycle Styrofoam blocks is inconvenient for some people.

"I know from personal experience it's a fair amount of effort to get up to V&G recycle," Ono said.

With some help from a local business or individual, the city is willing to continue offering Styrofoam block recycling. Staff hopes to find a generous person willing to extend the free use of a dry space to store the Styrofoam until a recycler can pick it up, Farmer said. The storage space must be dry and accessible by a collection vehicle.

"We know most people want to manage their Styrofoam blocks responsibly," Federal Way recycling manager Jeanette Brizendine said. "Having a local drop-off would make that much easier."

If the city is able to garner a collection site, V&G will pick up the Styrofoam blocks and recycle them for approximately $35 a pick-up, said Marilyn Lauderdale, V&G Styro Recycle owner. The company's truck holds approximately 20 cubic yards, she said. The company accepts Styrofoam blocks and peanuts, but not does accept foam sheets, Lauderdale said.

A local collection site could save residents money, Ono said. They wouldn't have to throw away the blocks, which take up valuable space in garbage cans, and they wouldn't have to drive all the way to Renton to be environmentally responsible.

"It's a two-way street," Ono said. "You're able to help reduce waste and, at the same time, there's monetary benefits that roll back to you."

Check it out

V&G Styro Recycle is located at 800 S.W. 43rd St. in Renton. The recycler is just west of Ikea and can be reached by calling (253) 838-9555.

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