Lightening the Load at Your Local Landfill

While many are aware of what can and cannot be recycled in Eugene, a new program is working to add styrofoam to the list of recyclable materials.

Posted this past week in MyEugene, a Lane County organization is working to create an efficient way to recycle the hazardous petroleum byproduct, known as expanded polystyrene (EPS). With more styrofoam being used every day; from take-out containers at restaurants, to the trays used in packaging meat and fish, there are still limited options for recycling the material. Until now, people have had to look for alternative and somewhat inconvenient methods for properly disposing the styrofoam. In Lane County, St. Vincent de Paul Society is the one organization taking the steps to make recycling styrofoam a tangible reality for its citizens. Proposing a new initiative was exactly what St. Vincent’s Assistant Director Charlie Harvey has done. He applied for a grant, which allowed him to buy a styrofoam compactor. The process grinds up the foam, allowing it to be compressed into large, solid blocks  that can then be easily transported and reused. The compactor is located at St. Vincent’s Prairie Road Maintenance and Recycling division.

Although St Vincent’s program is only one currently available for recycling EPS, other programs are developing throughout the Willamette Valley. A newly created resources list by Chris Cunningham at The Register-Guard, conveniently breaks down types and locations of recycling programs in Eugene. Cunningham has stated that the guide offers “connections for every citizen to create a greener, more livable environment, whether now or in the years to come.”

In connection to the gardening and compost section of the resource guide, the names and times of Lane County’s Farmers’ Markets are also listed. A feature was posted in the latest edition of Eugene Weekly, covering the composting of Saturday Market’s patrons’ trash. The small section spotlights Eugene’s Beth Little, who is the current general manager of the market. Although the spotlight is quite small, it provides interesting facts about the way the staff now sorts “100 percent of waste and compost at least 1,000 pounds every Saturday.” Something new to think about when participating in the Saturday Market this weekend.


About rschoeck

Grad student studying journalism at the University of Oregon.
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