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West Hartford Recycles: What to do with Styrofoam

Some egg cartons are made of polystyrene, and although they have a recycle symbol printed on them, they cannot be recycled in West Hartford's blue barrels. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

What to do with Styrofoam – A Friendly Recycle Alert!

By Katherine Bruns, Recycling Coordinator

This is a friendly reminder to West Hartford residents that styrofoam does NOT belong in the blue recycling barrel!

This can be confusing because styrofoam (or polystyrene) often has a recycle symbol. This is because scientifically it does have properties that make it recyclable. However, it is rarely cost efficient to do so.

In addition, because it is 95% air and lightweight, polystyrene or styrofoam breaks apart easily which makes it unsuitable for the automated sorting machines that our recycling facilities use to separate out contaminates.

Unacceptable material in blue recycling Bbarrels, and “wish cycling,” does more harm than good by causing entire loads of recycling to be rejected due to contamination. Contamination makes it harder to recover acceptable material with a commodity value. The costs associated with contaminated recycling continue to rise so remember:

Styrofoam is out. And, When in Doubt, Throw it Out!

For more information on What’s In and What’s Out please download West Hartford’s very own recycling app: West Hartford Recycles Waste Wizard. You can find the app – West Hartford Recycles – in your app store. You can also find the link here on the Town of West Hartford’s website. 

THANK YOU for keeping our blue barrels contaminate free!

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