Foam Cycle, the first foam packaging recycling system designed to be placed at outdoor municipal recycling drop-off centers, was recently issued a Utility Patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent outlines a “method and system of recycling polystyrene waste”. (Patent No.: US 11,241,695) Foam packaging, also known as Styrofoam, is one of the most plentiful, yet least recycled plastics in existence today. With packaging waste shifting from retailers to direct home delivery, foam packaging waste is too large to be placed in a curbside container and is not accepted by most single-stream recycling facilities. Foam Packaging waste joins a long list of other hard-to-recycle materials that cannot be collected at the curb, such as mattresses, tires, rigid plastics, metals and electronics. When dropped off at a recycling collection center equipped with a Foam Cycle system, foam packaging is able to be recycled.

The Foam Cycle system is designed as an encapsulated “plug and play” system to collect, recycle and repurpose foam packaging waste (e.g., food and pharmaceutical shipping coolers, electronics, TV, furniture packaging). When foam packaging waste is processed through the now-patented Foam Cycle system, 98% of the air is safely released and 2% of the polystyrene plastic is extruded, resulting in a 90-1 densification. Densified polystyrene foam, called ingots, has a very high resale value and is used in many industries to make new products, such as picture frames, RV panels and home insulation. Many of these finished products can be recycled again, resulting in a closed-loop recycling system.

The Foam Cycle unit can also process and recycle foam foodservice products (e.g., egg cartons, meat trays, cups, plates, takeout clamshells). Since foodservice foam is dropped off at a municipal recycling drop-off center by area residents and not placed in a curbside container, food service foam comes into a recycling facility 95% clean and ready to be recycled.

Once a Foam Cycle system is purchased, leased, or rented, Foam Cycle’s expert team of industry professionals will provide onsite support. Our team will explain, educate and train each municipal site location on the proper use of the system’s densifier and which foam materials can and cannot be recycled.

According to Foam Cycle company spokesperson Renee Garrin, “Foam Cycle’s future growth and larger environmental impact will occur when we make our recycling system known and available to municipal recycling drop-off centers throughout the country. In order to achieve this goal, Foam Cycle will be looking to partner with one of the nation’s largest waste and recycling haulers. This partnership would allow Foam Cycle access to hundreds of the company’s recycling professionals, many of which have existing municipal contacts and relationships.”

About Foam Cycle

The first Foam Cycle system was placed in 2016 at the 250-acre Sussex County, New Jersey landfill and recycling drop-off center under a public-private partnership agreement. Since then, the Foam Cycle system has won numerous state and national waste reduction awards including a “Green Team” grant from Montclair State University (MSU) in New Jersey. In the summer of 2017, the MSU Green Team analyzed the impact of foam on the Sussex County landfill. In addition, they followed the recycling path of the material generated from the Foam Cycle system to an end-user repurposing facility that makes picture frame moulding, producing a white paper report of their findings.

Today, Foam Cycle systems can be found successfully operating at municipal recycling drop-off centers in several states throughout the country. Foam Cycle’s positive and long lasting impact on foam waste reduction in our landfills and waterways can only be realized when the system is available to every municipal recycling site in the country. Fact: Most municipalities do not realize that foam waste can even be recycled.

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