RELEASED 9/20/2016

The Foam Recycling Coalition has awarded a $50,000 grant to McLeod County, Minn. to help the county expand its foam polystyrene recycling operation. McLeod County Solid Waste Management will buy a foam polystyrene densifier for the newly retrofitted county-owned material recovery facility located in Hutchinson, Minn. 

The McLeod County MRF, which now accepts single-stream recycling, will sort foam polystyrene products including cups, egg cartons, meat trays, and carry-out containers. The densifier bought with the grant money will compact these foam materials into condensed bricks that the county can easily ship to recycling markets in truckload quantities. 

"McLeod County will be a great partner in advancing foam polystyrene recovery in the region"” said Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which houses the coalition. "McLeod County provides excellent service to the region, and the densifier will enable them to enhance that service and divert a large amount of foam from landfill disposal."

A waste characterization study commissioned by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2013 showed that foam polystyrene comprises less than one percent of waste sent to local landfills. McLeod County Solid Waste Management believes that their MRF, which accepts material from municipalities, haulers, businesses, non-profits, and other recycling facilities, serving a region with a population of over 550,000, can serve as a resource to recover foam polystyrene currently destined for the landfill. 

"No longer being limited to recycling only clean EPS, McLeod County now has an opportunity to save all types of foam polystyrene products and foodservice packaging," explained McLeod County Solid Waste Coordinator Sarah Young. "Being able to add this commodity to our list of acceptable items, without excluding product types and its condition upon delivery, will save local landfill space and be another source of revenue to invest back into our recycling and waste programs."

The $50,000 grant is made possible through contributions to the FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics; Cascades Canada ULC; CKF Inc.; Chick-fil-A; Commodore; Convermex; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging, A Tekni-Plex Company; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; Hawaii Foam Products; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; NOVA Chemicals Corp.; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; Shell Chemical LP; and TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining USA. Additional support of the coalition comes from the EPS Industry Alliance.

McLeodCounty is the second grant recipient of 2016, yet the Foam Recycling Coalition will offer more grants that support foam recycling in residential curbside, drop-off, and commercial collection programs this year. The coalition plans to announce the additional grant recipients throughout the fall. More information about foam recycling and how to apply for a coalition grant is available at