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Public Urged To Recycle Styrofoam Packaging From Christmas Gifts

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – From electronics to appliances, so many items nowadays are packaged in Styrofoam.

Its official name is expanded polystyrene foam.

"It has a value downstream, I mean, I can be re-manufactured into something else that has value and so it is a resource," said Justin Stockdale with the Pa. Resources Council. "It is not a waste product, it's not garbage."

That's why the resource council is encouraging people to recycle the material, rather than just pitch it.

The council has partnered with appliance warehouse to make that happen.

People can bring the material right to the appliance warehouse, located on Bingham Street on the South Side.

"We run them though our machine that grind it up and them puts it out in a paste, which we turn into these bricks and we send them off to China," said Yanky Davidson with Appliance Warehouse.

In China, the bricks are processed again and made into a number of items – things like picture frames, pens and that's just the beginning.

"An architectural molding, a mill work piece to be used in households and commercial businesses," Davidson said. "It's a wood replacement, ultimately."

If the foam is just thrown in, it will end up in a landfill for a long time. It's not biodegradable.

The resource council recommends recycling at Appliance Warehouse or during one of the council's "hard-to-recycle" collection events held throughout the year.

"We have to focus on, again, finding economical, convenient ways to manage those resources," Stockdale said. "To give them a longer life, if you don't have to throw something away, why throw it away?"

As far as the cardboard boxes from your holiday gifts, the council suggests checking with your city, borough or municipality to see if you can leave them right at the curb.

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