Towns which belong to the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District (NEKWMD) will be able to bring foam products made from “Styrofoam.”

Towns which belong to the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District (NEKWMD) will be able to bring foam products made from “Styrofoam.” It’s the stuff that foods such as meat come packaged in, trays under a product, one-use cups, disposable coolers, and tons of protective packaging, all of which ends up in the waste stream. NEKWMD Executive Director Paul Tomasi, in pitching the machine to the district’s Board of Supervisors, said one of the most common questions they answer is whether “Styrofoam” — which is actually a brand name — can be recycled. The board approved giving the unit a try.  The compact unit pulls air out of the foam and condense it into a block that 4 inches by 4 inches and is able to be recycled into new products. The machine was awaiting its inaugural run at the waste district last week. It’s called a densifier and it’s manufactured by a company in New Jersey which offers a 6-month free trial. For now, that’s what the waste district has signed on for. The unit has a price tag of about $50,000, which the district hopes, if all goes well, may end up being covered by a hoped-for federal grant through the Environmental Protection Agency. The condensed foam will also have a recycling value. A company just over the border in Canada that manufactures car parts and other plastic items is on board to purchase pallets of the resulting squished foam product to re-use. The product, once it’s condensed, sells for $300-600/ton. For more information, see www.nekwmd.org

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Caledonian Record