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How to Recycle Styrofoam

A guest post by Sharon Tomasulo, from Library Hungry.

Polystyrene is the bane of my existence. It enters my life in enormous chunks, wrapped around a new microwave or humidifier or DVD player. And there’s no way to get rid of it. If I throw it away, it lives on forever in a landfill.  Local recycling never takes the stuff, apparently because it’s so light and space-consuming that it’s not worth transporting it.

So I’ve been hoarding it since we moved into the house, waiting for science to catch up with my compulsive need to recycle. And it has! I found a place (thanks, Earth911!) that recycles styrofoam. They work  mostly with industrial clients, but they do very occasional public events, so I went to a Green Festival in Framingham on Thursday night with my car densely packed with years of packing materials.

BUT I read the flyer wrong, and I got there when the recycling people had left and two ladies were cleaning up. I was heartbroken—three years I waited for this opportunity! Thwarted so close to my goal!

I've been saving this up for a while...

Thank goodness for Leslie, the recycling manager for the town of Framingham.  It turns out that Framingham is one of the few towns that accepts styrofoam in their community recycling program, because their local recycling center, Conigliaro, takes styrofoam. Again, mostly corporate and industrial clients, though you can be sure I’m calling them tomorrow to figure out what they take and how, and whether I can drop off future loads. Leslie agreed to fill her van with my enormous pile of used styrofoam and get it recycled for me. They only take the packing kind—formed of little “pills”—not food service foam. Still, big win.

Honestly, even if there’s a fee, even if the petroleum saved by recycling is canceled out by the gas I use to drive there, I will feel so much better that this stuff isn’t in a landfill, I can’t even tell you. Finally, after many years: success! Thanks, Leslie.

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