For anyone who’s ever unpacked Styrofoam, it’s the type of packaging that is both a nightmare to use and to dispose of. However, a recycling bin spotted at a grocery store chain may offer a solution.
A Reddit user shared a picture of a recycling bin they spotted at Publix, an employee-owned grocery store chain with over 1,300 stores across America. Unlike most other recycling bins that are for cardboard, paper, or cans, this one is dedicated to foam.
Styrofoam recycling bin at the grocery chain Publix we saw while traveling
by u/Cat-in-the-hat222 in recycling
With the condition that it’s empty, clean, and dry, these bins appear to accept any type of Styrofoam. There’s no indication of how many of these there are throughout Publix stores, but being able to dispose of foam packaging and containers while out and about will go a long way to reducing landfill waste.
Americans reportedly throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year, not to mention other forms of non-biodegradable materials. In 2018, the EPA claimed that U.S. citizens generated over 80,000 tons of polystyrene foam waste in all its forms.
Throwing away this much single-use material doesn’t just clutter up our landfills, but it also means that the microplastics contained in them leech into the soil and water, affecting entire ecosystems for the worse.
With these recycling bins, the Styrofoam inside can be put to good use in other foam products. What’s more, this will reduce the amount of foam that needs to be made, reducing the amount of energy and water used to create new Styrofoam products.
“That’s good signage,” noted another Reddit user. “It is so helpful to have actual photos of what’s allowed in that bin, with a checkmark symbol and green for yes, and an x symbol and red for no. Images communicate in all languages!”
Another noted that this might be a small step in the right direction, but there are also other locations that are providing a similar service: “Seems like a pretty small receptacle, the place that takes PS near me has a couple of big dumpsters, and they’re usually almost full.”
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