North Carolina's Henderson County Solid Waste to add foam densifier system to its transfer station on US$40,000 grant from Foodservice Packaging Institute; new year-round recycling program to serve 49,000 households in Henderson County

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HENDERSON COUNTY, North Carolina , October 12, 2022 (press release) –

Residents in Henderson County, North Carolina, will no longer have to wait for the bi-annual recycling events to recycle polystyrene (PS) foam including cups, plates, egg cartons, takeout clamshells and electronics packaging. Henderson County Solid Waste received a $40,000 grant from the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Foam Recycling Coalition to add a foam densifier system to its transfer station for year-round recycling. The new PS foam recycling program will serve approximately 49,000 households in Henderson County.

Henderson County residents have depended upon bi-annual Hard-to-Recycle events managed by Asheville Greenworks to recycle materials like polystyrene foam.

“Foam recycling in Henderson County has been one of the most frequent requests that we receive from residents utilizing the Convenience Center. In the past, logistically, it was not efficient to ship undensified foam, and it had become costly to find a trucking company willing to work with the program. For many residents, it is a challenge to store up and save foam foodservice containers and packaging until the bi-annual Henderson County Hard to Recycle events,” said Amy Schmitte of Henderson County Solid Waste. “Once in Operation, the Foam Cycle system will allow residents to drop off their foodservice and packaging foam at our Convenience Center throughout the year and the county will be able to help keep foam out of the landfill while saving money in trucking and labor costs.”

The grant will support the purchase of a Foam Cycle system that densifies PS foam into foam ingots at a compaction ratio of 90:1, removing 98% of the air from the loose material. The system will be housed in an existing building on the transfer station property. The county will self-fund the addition of foam collection bins and minor building modifications.

The county has identified several end-market options for the densified PS foam in North Carolina and Georgia.
“Henderson County is investing in its solid waste programs and its residents by improving upon their existing foam recycling program,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, which oversees the Foam Recycling Coalition. “We hope to see this initiative take hold and expand to neighboring communities, continuing to increase the diversion of polystyrene foam from landfills.”

The grant is made possible through contributions to the Foam Recycling Coalition, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of post-consumer foam polystyrene. Its members include Americas

Styrenics; Chick-fil-A; CKF Inc.; Dart Container Corp.; Dyne-A-Pak; Genpak; INEOS Styrolution America LLC; Lifoam Industries, LLC; Pactiv Evergreen; Republic Plastics.

Henderson County is the 25th grant recipient to receive this funding since 2015. Over 8 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle PS foam as a result of Foam Recycling Coalition grants. Visit to learn more about foam recycling, read about previous recipients, or apply for a grant.

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