Styrofoam has been a nuisance in landfills for a long time, but now the ECO Depot in Fort St. John is accepting Styrofoam for recycling. Pieces of Styrofoam are broken down then heat and pressure compresses the pellets into a solid block in the facility’s new bailer. In it’s new state the Styrofoam can then be reused to make things like cups, packaging, and meat trays. Koelman Marshall works at the Eco-Depot and he says that since they introduced the bailer they have seen a strong response from the community.
“We’ve been accepting Styrofoam now I believe for the past four months. We’ve had incredible huge volumes if Styrofoam coming in. We’ve actually had a bail with our bigger bailer just to make room for the Styrofoam, and then we’ll have to go back and sort that and bail it later on just due to the room.”
When put in a landfill Styrofoam can take hundreds of year to break down, and with the new bailer Marshall says it will greatly reduce the amount of Styrofoam going to the dump.
“Well it definitely saves on landfill for sure. Just to do one sized cubes of blocks, which is roughly 500 pounds it took about 150 bags to 200 bags, roughly.”
The Eco Depot works closely with the Northern Environmental Action team, and Tammy Harab with NEAT says the introduction of this bailer makes recycling Styrofoam in the north economically feasible.
“Before it was just not cost effective to ship it because it’s so light, but because they can compress it now it can be shipped out to the recyclers and turned into other things.”
This bailer goes a long way in increasing the types of materials the Eco Depot can handle. Harab says they will keep an eye out for future recycling options to introduce in the north.
“We have a great relationship with Eco-Depot so we’re constantly talking and figuring out. The government of British Columbia and their stewards are really good about keeping people informed and notified. So it’s keeping up with the media, and the emails, and the letters, and the partners, and keeping all of that information in check and it’s available to us in the North.”