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Need to Know

New York’s Otsego County Begins Foam Recycling Program

A $50,000 grant will help the county purchase and install a densifier, finish a polystyrene processing center build-out, collect materials and focus on outreach.

Residents in Otsego County, N.Y., can now recycle foam polystyrene through a county program, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC). The county’s program will focus on receiving foam cups, plates, takeout containers, egg cartons, trays and blocks from local commercial businesses and self-delivery from residents.

The new grant funding allows Otsego County to purchase and install a densifier, finish its polystyrene processing center build-out, collect materials and focus on education and outreach. “We’re excited and grateful for this award from the Foam Recycling Coalition,” said Karen Sullivan, Otsego County’s planning and solid waste director, in a statement. “Our new polystyrene processing center will divert more material from our landfill, saving county taxes and positively impacting our environment.” 

The county committed to establishing a foam polystyrene recycling program as part of Otsego County’s 2018 Solid Waste Management Plan. The program partners with local nonprofit Arc Otsego, which will provide staffing at the existing ReUse Center, and the county will assist with promotion and marketing.

“Otsego County has shown a progressive attitude toward diverting as much county materials as possible,” said Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which houses the coalition, in a statement. “The county’s latest efforts on foam recycling mean these valuable materials are being recovered instead of landfilled.”

The county, which has about 60,000 residents among 24 communities, supports recycling of traditional materials, while also providing options for batteries, electronics, mattresses, medications and fluorescent lightbulbs.

The grant is made possible through contributions to the FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Otsego County is the 11th grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. More than 3 million additional residents in both the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants.

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