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CANCELLED - StyroFest: Styrofoam Recycling Event
Date: June 6, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Location: Kirkland Maintenance Center Map it
915 8th Street
Kirkland, WA

This event is cancelled due to the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” executive order.

We ask that you refrain from saving any more material than you already have for future events.

We strongly encourage you to throw away any Styrofoam pieces you have that will fit in your trash cart, and save only the largest pieces for future events. We also request that you save plastic film for year-round drop-off locations (most large grocery stores) rather than bringing them to the next event we are able to offer. Because several events have been cancelled, we expect a tremendous amount of material when we are next able to offer an event.

We understand that no one who's saved this material for recycling wishes to throw it away; however, the pandemic has caused a significant disruption to our ability to host recycling events. Thank you for your understanding and assistance. We hope to be able to provide this service again soon!

OTHER OPTIONS FOR STYROFOAM DISPOSAL + BAG RECYCLING:

  • Plastic film can be dropped off for recycling at grocery stores after the Stay Home order. You can bring all the plastic film we accept at StyroFest - plastic bags as well as overwrap and bubble wrap / packing bubbles. You can see an official list of participating locations at plasticfilmrecycling.orglinks to external site (some grocers have a collection station but are not listed - your local grocer is likely to have one). Please hold onto your material until the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order is completed.
  • StyrofoamTM is not accepted in your home recycling cart. We recommend throwing away smaller pieces of StyrofoamTM that are able to fit in your trash container and saving only the largest pieces for future events.
  • If you need to dispose of your material immediately for safety or health reasons, public drop-off locations for StyrofoamTM recycling are available in Shorelinelinks to external site and Kentlinks to external site. We recommend calling in advance to confirm they are accepting material during the Stay Home order. Moderate amounts of extra StyrofoamTM that cannot fit in your cart could be placed out as extra garbage for $6.71 plus tax per 32 gallons of material. Large quantities can be disposed as trash for a fee at the Houghton Transfer Stationlinks to external site

Why We Can't Just Add Curbside StyrofoamTM Recycling
StyrofoamTM is an extremely challenging material to recycle, both from an economic and practical standpoint, which is why there are so few recycling options available. While we are pleased to be able to offer regular events during normal times, other options for recycling it are limited.

StyrofoamTM is very bulky in relation to the amount of plastic material that it contains for use in other products. That means that a very large quantity needs to be collected, stored, and processed to produce a reasonable amount of material that can be sold to manufacturers. As a plastic, its value suffers when oil prices are low because that makes it cheaper to produce virgin plastic rather than using recycled plastic. Only one company in the Seattle area processes recycled StyrofoamTM.

StyrofoamTM cannot be accepted in curbside recycling carts because it easily breaks into tiny pieces at the Recycling Center, which are unable to be sorted and which contaminate other materials, making them harder to recycle. Other cities have experimented with curbside StyrofoamTM recycling but experienced significant problems that made it unfeasible.

Free curbside collection next to your cart for recycling is also not feasible under our current contract with our hauler Waste Management. Because the material is so bulky, it would require an additional truck and driver (or possibly multiple) to collect the material and transport it to the processor in Kent. We also know, from our StyroFest volumes, that there is a very large quantity of StyrofoamTM out in the community. Paid doorstep collection of StyrofoamTM is currently available in the Kirkland area through a private service, with a limit on quantity accepted.

What You Can Do to Help the StyrofoamTM Challenge
  • When you receive a package or purchase an item packed in StyrofoamTM, you can reach out to the company to let them know you want them to use another material, or provide a convenient means of recycling it
  • Support state-level bills to restrict uses of StyrofoamTM (several were proposed during the 2020 legislative session)
  • Support state-level bills to require minimum recycled content in products (a bill passed the legislature this year but was vetoed for budgetary concerns by the Governor)
  • Support extended producer responsibility bills that would make producers responsible for the waste that they make, and encourage them to create products that are more recyclable (a bill was proposed in the 2020 legislative session) - read more about extended producer responsibility in this report (pdf, 1.5mb)links to external site
  • Purchase products that contain post-consumer recycled plastic 
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