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What to do with all that styrofoam laying around?  Sure, you can have fun with Hummers
or put it in your garden, but at the end of the day, it's just trash.  

Even here in San Francisco, where styrofoam will be banned starting next year:


Polystyrene foam "is a notorious pollutant that breaks down into smaller, non-biodegradable pieces that are ingested by marine life and other wildlife thus harming or killing them," the legislation reads. There is also no easy way to recycle polystyrene foam, according to the legislation.

No easy way?

So a quick search shows that indeed, one can easily recycle it.  

With Oranges no less.

Looks pretty easy to me.  Just spray it on!


Now, I agree with banning the stuff completely.  But as the article states, we have 50 years worth of the stuff already out there, making a terrible mess in the environment.

And this process reduces C02 emissions:

Since I'm in San Francisco, and my supervisor had apparently just voted on the styrofoam ban, I called his office first to see what if anything had been discussed about it.  Well, let's just say I was told to call the sponsor of the bill, Aaron Peskin, where I left a message.  Maybe if I was calling about building a Home Depot or Walmart I'd get someone.  Hmmm.  

Well, how about our favorite recycling company, Sunset Scavenger?  

The first receptionist forwarded me to the NorCal head office, where I spoke to the CEO's assistant, who was quite interested in the topic.  Alas, she didn't know what if anything was being done, and forwarded me to someone who may know more, and I left a message.  Not knowing the costs involved, it's hard to know how good an idea it is.  

Well it ain't blue vinyl, but it may be worthwhile and no one seems to be aware of it.

Originally posted to toys on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 02:02 PM PDT.

Poll

Did you know about styrofoam recycling?

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40%8 votes

| 20 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I had no idea .... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thursday Next, toys, Cronesense

    that styrofoam could be recycled. I wonder if this method would work on the annoying foam peanut things that AMAZON loves to use ..... title=

    What you`ve gotta do In this day and age You gotta agitate Educate Organize Take the time to live Take the time to give

    by TokenCanadian on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 02:03:08 PM PDT

  •  If this planet is going to hold (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, docangel, toys

    If we intend for this planet to hold up to ten billion of us and wildlife to, this is exactly the kind of issues we have to look at.

    We shall overcome, someday.

    by Sam Wise Gingy on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 02:03:18 PM PDT

  •  Cool beans (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docangel, toys

    I always wondered why a solvent-based method hadn't been worked out for styrofoam.  My first job over the summer in college was working on a huge grinder, reducing plastic waste for recycling.

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 02:04:12 PM PDT

  •  It truly is awful stuff. (5+ / 0-)

    My strategy for years at work was to tear up the block styrofoam from the packaging of computer parts we received, and take it (plus any styropeanuts we'd get) next door to a book store, which reused it all for shipping.

    At home, I'd accumulate a bag of peanuts and then drop it by a local Pak-Mail or something for reuse.

    BTW, styrofoam dissolves in acetone, but that's a pretty toxic (if entertaining) thing to do.

    I like the cornstarch-based packing peanuts.  They compost nicely, though reuse is undoubtedly a better way to go.

    Let's get serious about renewables and efficiency. It's time to Win the Oil Endgame.

    by by foot on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 02:10:33 PM PDT

  •  !!! i had no idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    toys

    ...and one of the hats that i used to wear was in the waste reduction /reuse arena!

    well done / thank you / more, please !

  •  This is a very interesting diary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    toys

    ... I would love to see that crap recycled. Keep us informed as to what happens. I am in the South Bay...

  •  Orange oil (0+ / 0-)
    There's a product containing orange oil that dissolves sticky stuff left behind by labels and price tags, I'm not sure the name of it, Goo Gone or something. Anyway, I went to buy some recently and saw there were two competing products on the shelf. If you read the warnings on the lesser-known product, it's pretty dire about breathing this stuff in with lots of red warning letters and exclamation points. Can't remember the exact warning other than "aspiration is fatal."
    •  I actually have some of that too (0+ / 0-)

      I was about to look for it today to see how it would react when I decided to google it first.  I knew spray paints would dissolve it too, but didn't want to create a worse mess than I had already.

  •  Berkeley has banned... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docangel, toys

    Styrofoam for over 16 years. Restaurants, cafes and the like use a product made out of corn silk. The order addresses disposal of the existing styrofoam from that time.

    San Francisco is very "recycling" unfriendly and very much behind the times. Mostly because of the corruption of all the private drayage companies.

    Our trash pick up in Berkeley, and the recycling is a municipal endeavor.

    San Francisco would be wise to study our efforts here.

    A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude --Pablo Neruda

    by justiceputnam on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 02:50:48 PM PDT

    •  We can certainly do a lot more! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      justiceputnam

      I know we've done some good things with restaurants, and some plans for biomass power and things, but they don't seem to go very far.

      Do you have any other links?  I can't get into the mindfully site right now...

      •  We've done some good... (0+ / 0-)

        ... and it's true more needs to be done. I just posted the ordinance that was passed in '88 and implemented in '90. No one in Berkeley uses styrofoam; that's one of the reasons Smart and Final closed their store on San Pablo and University. The Ordinance was amended to include stores as well. S&F didn't have a supplier for corn starch/silk containers.

        Your diary for breaking down the styrofoam is great!

        I don't have any other links, alas...

        A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude --Pablo Neruda

        by justiceputnam on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 03:30:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Very interesting and informative. I try never to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    toys

    use it, but when someone else has used it in a package to me, I recycle it by using it again.  I have never known what other option I have.  Thanks!

  •  Sunset Scavenger just called back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justiceputnam

    The person I spoke to knew of this system but is not aware of anyone using it now and is not sure how feasible it is.

    So I asked if I came up with a business plan, would they be interested.  He gave me another number to call, and I left a message.

  •  I used to work for a masonry insulation company. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justiceputnam, toys

    They took styrofoam and chopped it into little bits, blew it into tank trucks, drove it to a site and blew it into those holes in cinder blocks to insulate them.  

    I'm wondering if I can take some citrus spray stuff and spray it on styrofoam at home, then toss it.  I guess you can't/wouldn't wash it down the drain.

  •  Come on folks - please recommend this diary!!! (0+ / 0-)

    This is great information to get out.

    "WE are the leaders we are waiting for" Hopi Elders

    by Gabriele Droz on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 05:33:09 PM PDT

    •  Hopefully I'll do it again when I get more info (0+ / 0-)

      For the record:

      Ross Mirkarimi's staff called back only to tell me to talk to Peskin.  I find it odd my own supe won't offer assistance.

      Peskin did not call back.

      NorCal Waste seems at least nice to deal with once you get to the right people, and I'm waiting on the last person I left a message with to call back.

      My plan now is to determine if reality makes this possible.  Collection may be a problem.

      It looks like leaving the styrofoam at the store is the best solution with daily pickups.

  •  If I absolutely have to buy something (0+ / 0-)

    that I can't find in anything but some packaging with styrofoam, I take the packaging apart at the store and tell them to recycle it.  I know they won't, but I try to make a point aboutut how bad it is.

    I have one friend who takes all the excess packaging off of all her purchases and leaves them at the stores.  She makes me feel more normal, so I love her.

    People like you are the reason people like me need medication
    Healthcare for ALL - We can do it NOW!

    by SarahLee on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 06:06:36 PM PDT

    •  I do that for small items too (0+ / 0-)

      and I shop at Rainbow and buy bulk with the paper and plastic bags I reuse.

      But what to do with the larger items, like computers, TVs, DVD players, LCD/Plasma screens?  

      It looks like that packaging would need to be returned to the store or collection place.  The store would have the option of reusing the packaging.  

      And like me, most people probably hold onto the packaging a while to make sure it doesn't have to be shipped back.  Or you want to have it around when you move.  Solutions for this would have to be addressed.  For me, the items had already passed being needed to be shipped and I had been hording this styrofoam for many many years, and only found out today it is not recycled.

  •  Reusing packing peanuts... (0+ / 0-)

    I used to work at Mail Boxes Etc. (now the UPS Store).  We used a good deal of recycled peanuts (that customers would bring in) and biodegradable peanuts (we'd taste them on occasion), but we still used a ton of non-biodegradable stuff.  The latter was actually a better packing material, which doesn't justify it, but when shipping fragile items we tended to use the non-biodegradable stuff.

    But we put little pamphlets with info on the Peanut Pipeline where the receiver of the package could find out where to recycle the peanuts.

    broo-'dye-mo-NEE-uh | Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the human race. - H.G. Wells

    by Brudaimonia on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 10:25:04 PM PDT

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