City receives EPS recycling award

July 28, 2015 / For Immediate Release

AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – On Tuesday, July 28, the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association (APRA) presented the City of Airdrie with an award for the City’s innovative efforts in recycling Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).

The City of Airdrie ran a pilot in 2014 to test the ability to accept EPS at the Eastside Recycle Depot and found creative ways to collect and ship the materials during the pilot.

“We were the first in Alberta to trial using a baler to pack the material for more economical and environmentally friendly shipping,” says Tracey Chala, Team Leader of Waste & Recycling. “We also began the pilot accepting food packaging but when the densifiers had difficulty with that type of EPS, we had to communicate to residents the change in what we could accept,” says Chala. “I believe our creativity and flexibility were two key elements that made us stand out for this award,” says Chala.

“It’s been a real pleasure to work with Airdrie on this pilot,” says Executive Director of APRA, Grant Cameron. “Airdrie has one of the provinces’ best operated depots and we’re excited to see this EPS program evolve,” adds Cameron.

The EPS recycling pilot has seen great success. From August 2014 to February 2015, the City collected approximately 500 supersacs of polystyrene totalling an impressive 5500lbs, or 2.5 metric tons.

EPS, a form of foamed polystyrene, is commonly used as cushion packaging. It is often incorrectly referred to as “Styrofoam” (an insulating material and trademark of Dow). Recycling the material involves densifying it by using a machine that breaks down and melts EPS into plastic ingots that can be sold back to plastics manufacturers. Airdrie proudly works with McArthur’s Fine Furniture, Foam Only and Plasti-Fab to densify our EPS material.

The Alberta Plastics Recycling Association (APRA) is an Alberta not-for-profit industry association, dedicated to sustainable plastics recycling and minimizing plastic waste in the landfill. APRA facilitates the development of sustainable programs to effectively manage plastics waste and acts as a resource to government, waste minimization groups, commercial waste generators and consumers.

“When it comes to EPS, it’s always best to avoid purchasing it in the first place, but the second best option is to recycle it and we’re proud to have a great program for our residents to do that,” says Chala.

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Media contact:
Tracey Chala
Team Leader, Waste & Recycling
403.948.8800 ext 6296

 

 

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