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The Styrofoam Tray Dilemma

As our country continues the re-opening process amid the COVID-19 pandemic, students in many states will be returning to school in August. Also, in many states, restaurants remain closed for dining in and are relying on takeout orders for their business.

What do these things have in common?

The frequent use of Styrofoam.

Styrofoam trays and containers are used daily in schools and restaurants across the country. However, people often mistakenly throw these items in with their recycling – this “contaminates” the entire recycling load and forces it all to go to a landfill.

Contaminated Styrofoam trays and containers cannot be recycled. This is because food or organic waste cannot be processed at recycling plants. All materials must be clean and dry to be recycled. Food waste can contaminate all otherwise recyclable materials and prevent them from being recycled.

Remember the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you ever have an option to use recyclable material, such as plastic or glass, opt for that – and make sure it is thoroughly cleaned before you put it in your recycling bin. If you have materials you can reuse, be sure to do so!