Foam is a versatile product used in disposable food-grade foodservice packaging and protective packaging material.

It surprises many consumers to learn that polystyrene foam can be recycled. A number of states, such as California and Michigan, have implemented foam recycling for their residents. Thanks to its two foam recycling centers, Washington is beginning to see the positive impact of foam recycling, but the state could benefit from increasing its efforts.

Foam recycling reduces solid waste, decreases our dependency on virgin resources, prevents pollution, saves energy, protects the Earth’s atmosphere, and models sustainability for future generations.

Foam products are lightweight, strong, heat resistant, insulated, moisture resistant, and affordable.

When polystyrene foam material is recycled, it can be used to make items such as garden nursery trays, picture frames, rulers, surfboards, and architectural molding. Foam is also far less taxing on the environment than popular alternatives that generate 181% more solid waste by weight than foam cups.

Just like the rest of the country, Washington’s roughly 7 million residents have faced a challenging economic landscape in the 21st century. Many hardworking Washingtonians still struggle to make ends meet. In times of economic uncertainty, every dollar saved counts. The continued use of foam throughout Washington creates jobs, saves money, and benefits the state’s overall economy.

Foam is engineered for performance. Foam containers keep hot food and drinks hot, don’t burn your hands, and don’t require corrugated sleeves. They also keep cold drinks cold, minimize condensation, keep carbonated drinks carbonated longer, and are less expensive than popular alternatives.

Foam saves money in Washington schools: A typical polystyrene tray costs four times less than alternative trays, which allows schools to invest more money in students. [i]slide4-About
Foam products are valued in healthcare: Foam is more hygienic than alternative materials, which makes it the preferred choice for hospitals that treat vulnerable patients.slide2-About
Foam has the best temperature retention, the least heat transfer to hands, and requires the least amount of raw material in its manufacturing process.
[i] Kelly Puente, Recyclable Foam Trays a Cure for Long Beach Schools’ Headache, PRESS-TELEGRAM, May 19, 2011, available at http://www.presstelegram.com/ci_18100171?source=rv.