Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling (WCR), a non-profit environmental organization located in southwestern Pennsylvania, has received a $46,500 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) to add a foam densifier to its current drop-off facility that recovers hard-to-recycle materials.

With an over 30-year history, WCR oversees recycling activity in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, which has 67 municipalities and over 151,000 households or 365,000 residents. WCR first opened its drop-off facility in 2014 to manage hard-to-recycle materials not collected at the curb. Materials accepted include items such as electronics, tires, scrap metal, appliances, fluorescent bulbs/fixtures, used motor oil, lead acid batteries, glass containers and, soon, foam polystyrene (#6).

The FRC funding allows WCR to purchase and install a high capacity densifier unit to better manage its drop-off foam collection at its new and much larger facility, which opened in May of 2020. The densifier will allow WCR to collect any and all types of foam marked #6. This includes foodservice packaging (e.g., cups, plates, bowls, clamshells and cafeteria trays), other foam food packaging (e.g., egg cartons and meat trays) and block protective packaging foam commonly found with electronics or furniture.

With WCR as the popular establishment in the county for recycling, the announcement of an expanded recycling facility is exciting news for residents. “We are focused on recovering more material. Adding the new services for foam recycling is highly anticipated within the county,” says Ellen Keefe, executive director of Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling.

“Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling is providing the necessary services to recycle clean and empty foam packaging that is generated by residents,” says Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which oversees the FRC. “WCR sets a great example of how an organization can expand its current facility and operations, and educate residents as foam polystyrene recycling continues to increase across North America.”

For more information, visit www.RecycleFoam.org.