A trial program involving food grade Styrofoam has become permanent at the Coon Rapids Recycling Center.
"If you were to run just food grade material, you would just get crumbs," said Colleen Sinclair, the Coon Rapids Recycling Coordinator, who was referring to the recycling of food grade materials.
Thanks to a $50,000 dollar grant, the Coon Rapids Recycling Center now permanently accepts food grade Styrofoam containers, cups and trays. Using the Recycling Center’s foam-crushing machine, Sinclair says they combine just the right amount of food grade and rigid Styrofoam to make a perfect mix.
"So when we mix it with our standard Styrofoam, the two, in limited amounts, and with just the right recipe they'll all adhere together," said Sinclair.
A Styrofoam cup with colored print on it is an example of an item that cannot be accepted.
"It needs to be clean, and it needs to be dry, but it needs to be solid white and it can't have any printing on it. Egg cartons also have printing on them and we can’t have any of that, so it just has to be solid white material, no print," Sinclair said.
The Recycling Center plans to use some of the grant money to buy a forklift, which is something the city does not already own.
"We've ordered that up and then we'll use it here to help us move our blocks, our pallets of foam back and forth," Sinclair said.
The future of the recycling program looks bright, finding ways to keep even more Styrofoam out of landfills.
"We've been really lucky here at the Recycling Center, whatever standards we put out there, most people follow them really well," Sinclair concluded.