One company in Lackawanna County is making it easier for people to go green, by offering free Styrofoam recycling.
At Anthracite Recycling in Scranton, they are all about, well, recycling everything from cardboard to scrap metal and now, Styrofoam.
People can drop off big Styrofoam packaging and even those pesky popcorn pieces all for free.
“It`s not something that`s blowing down the street, they`re not trying to break it up into little pieces, where you`re creating a dust and a mess and again, it`s the right thing to do, instead of just putting it out for the garbage man to take,” said Anthracite Recycling operations manager Christopher Patchoski.
Styrofoam recycling is not widely available, but with increasing demand from customers, the company purchased a green machine, bought second-hand and tweaked to recycle polystyrene foam, or Styrofoam.
The Styrofoam is fed into the machine and broken up into small pieces that are blown into a bag and then compressed into logs.
An entire tractor trailer-full of Styrofoam packaging can be condensed into a pallet stacked about eight feet high. The condensed Styrofoam is then sold to companies that make Styrofoam products for them to reuse.
“A lot of this material will go back into what you see in your takeout containers that you would see in restaurants, to-go containers or back into Styrofoam that you would see when you buy a new appliance or electronic,” added Patchoski. “They’re not actually making new material, taking raw materials, oil, crude, resin, and mixing that, batching it, and then obviously expanding the Styrofoam. They can skip all that. Now they already have the material made, all they have to do is grind it and just put it back into whatever mold for the items that they’re shipping.”
At the Lackawanna County Recycling Center in Scranton, more than one million tons of material have been recycled in the past 20 years, but Styrofoam is not an option.
Those dropping off recyclables were glad to hear there is a place that will now take it.
“Well I got a juicer and I was so excited and I had these two chunks of Styrofoam which I kept for about a week and I thought, ‘I can’t keep this around anymore,’ and I couldn’t bring it here, so I chopped it up into little pieces and I put it in my trash and I felt really guilty about it, but I had no alternative,” said Michelle Sitko of Scott Township.
“If you dump it in a landfill, God knows what it does and how long it stays there and I guess we just can`t keep doing that,” added Wally Kudalsky of Dalton.
Styrofoam packaging, no cups or food containers, can be dropped off at Anthracite Recycling, 501 West Locust Street in Scranton, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.