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Austin Expands Operations to Recycle More Foam Packaging
Released 2/5/2020

Austin Resource Recovery (ARR), a department of the City of Austin, received a $45,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC). This grant will increase the city’s capacity to manage and process more post-consumer foam polystyrene, including foodservice packaging and protective packaging for recycling. 

Austin's Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center (RRDOC) currently serves single family residents and multifamily complexes. Most services are at no cost, but some services have a fee, including services offered to the business community. Austin's Universal Recycling Ordinance requires businesses to provide access to recycling. With the ordinance in place, the RRDOC saw a large increase in the amount of foam collected and processed at its facility — an increase of nearly 8,000 pounds per month.

"We are excited to see more material coming to our facility. With such an increase in the volume of foam, we were struggling to keep up," said Andy Dawson, assistant division manager. "With this grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition, we will purchase a second densifier to help supplement our current equipment and allow us to handle a greater volume of foam coming from businesses."

To communicate with residents about this program, ARR has taken the initiative to provide outreach material to nearly all 195,000 residential customers in Austin. The city will continue to inform residents and businesses through social media sites and monthly utility bill inserts to relay new information about their recycling program.

"We like to work with forward thinking organizations, like the City of Austin's Austin Resource Recovery Department, to expand their recycling programs," said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which houses the coalition. "Everyone benefits when more materials are recycled in the communities they serve, instead of going to landfills."

The grant is made possible through contributions to 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; Dart Container Corp.; Dolco Packaging; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; NOVA Chemicals Corp.; Pactiv Foodservice/Food Packaging; Republic Plastics; and TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining USA. 

Austin Resource Recovery is the 13th grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. Over 3 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle foam as a result of FRC grants. Visit www.RecycleFoam.org to learn about foam recycling, read about previous recipients, or apply for a grant.

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