CARE (Cups Are REcyclable)
To make recycling polystyrene foam food service products easier for our customers, Dart offers the CARE (Cups Are REcyclable) program. The CARE Program helps large operators using foam food service products separate the foam from other products, consolidate the collected material, and arrange to have it recycled. Recycled foam food service products can be reprocessed into building insulation, plastic lumber, and many other products.
Dart Container Corporation will assist qualified operators in their foam recycling efforts through the Dart CARE Program as set forth below.
Foam Recycling Support Materials
- Posters that notify the public that their facility recycles foam cups or foam products.
- Instructional posters that inform the public how to recycle their foam cups or foam products.
- Brochures detailing the foam recycling process.
- Table tents that encourage the public to recycle foam cups as well as inform them of other important environmental facts relating to foam food service products.
Note: Additional quantities of support materials are available for a fee.
Two key requirements for making foam recycling cost-effective are:
1) Separation of the foam products from other non-foam products
2) Maximum consolidation of the collected foam products into the least amount of space
"Respensers" or foam cup collection devices consisting of a collection bin and lid, address both of these requirements. Round holes in the lid of each respenser encourage separation of foam cups from non-foam products.
A durable plastic bin, or a more economical corrugated version, utilizing specially designed lids, provide effective
collection devices and are available for purchase from Dart. Assembled Respenser Dimensions: 11" × 20" × 30"
In order to further maximize consolidation of collected materials into the least amount of space, the CARE program includes use of a densifier—a piece of equipment designed to take large quantities of foam products and compact or "densify" them into a much smaller single, shippable unit. The densifier is ideal for large volume users of foam food service products. It reduces the amount of space required to store collected foam, reduces the frequency of needed pick-ups of the material, and dramatically increases the number of pounds of foam which can be transported in a truckload.
By doing so, the densifier reduces the carbon footprint—a measure of the amount of greenhouse gases produced—of the foam recycling process.
How does the densifier work?
The densifier is designed specifically to break down the cellular structure of polystyrene foam through mechanical pressure. It reduces the volume of loose foam products significantly, saving storage and transport space.
Features of the Densifier
- Suited for use with foam food service products
- Improves the economics of storage and transportation for foam recycling
- Ideal for high-volume cafeterias, restaurants, or other food service operations using foam products
- Installs and operates indoors or outdoors
Available on a lease basis as part of the CARE Program, the densifier requires minimal capital investment. Dart offers technical assistance to support the densifier.
Condition of Collected Product
Dart will only pick up densified foam products that have been separated from other material (including paper cups and paper plates). When foam products are collected and densified, the products must be empty of liquids and free of heavy food contamination. Leftover food should be knocked or scraped off of foam food service items.
The densified material must be placed in translucent plastic bags and securely sealed. The bags used must be durable enough to withstand handling. Dart offers translucent plastic bags suitable to contain densified foam products. The required plastic bag specs are as follows: Multi-layer film, nylon 6, EVA copolymer, 3 mils thick.
Prior to pick-up, the operator must tag the translucent plastic bags containing the densified foam. The tags must identify the operator by business name and location and specify the date the material was bagged. This allows Dart to inform the operator if, during the recycling process, the densified material is found to contain any material other than polystyrene foam. The tags should be manila and approximately 6" long by 3" tall. Appropriate tags are included with the purchase of Dart plastic barrier bags used to store and ship the densified material.
Pick-up of Densified Product
Dart will pick up densified foam products once a month at no charge to the CARE program participant. Densified material should be accessible through a loading dock. If that is not possible, a fenced-in area may suffice. The pick-up point must be accessible by a 48' long, 13'6" tall trailer. Exact timing of pick-up is subject to the availability of Dart trucks.
- A typical foam cup requires about one third less energy to produce than a similar coated paper hot cup with a corrugated sleeve.
- A typical foam cup produces less than half the waste by weight than a similar coated paper cold cup.
- Since foam products insulate so well, foam cups do not require "double cupping" or use of a corrugated cup sleeve in order to avoid burning your hands.
- Dart does not use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the manufacture of any of its products.
- A program participation fee of $295 per month in the U.S. ($350 in Canada).
- A minimum program term of six months.
- The CARE Program participant maintains the densifier. Dart will provide limited service during the first six months.
- The CARE Program participant is responsible for installing the densifier and must have a fork lift available for densifier installation. The densifier weight is approximately 2200 pounds.
- Pick-up of densified material for recycling is included at no cost once per month.
- Recycling collection bins and lids are available for purchase.
- Instructional and promotional support materials are available.