It is estimated Australians throw out more than seven million wheelie bins of polystyrene every year. Polystyrene can’t be recycled via your kerbside recycling bin. When thrown out it does not break down and takes up precious space in landfill. Polystyrene is easily blown by the wind, ending up as litter in the environment where it can harm animals and marine life.
There are many kinds of foam and plastic packaging. Expanded polystyrene is made by expanding beads of polystyrene plastic (like popcorn) and then fusing them together. Expanded polystyrene can be easily identified if the beads of foam can be seen when foam is broken.
However, all foam isn’t the same. You cannot recycle coloured polystyrene or foam. No meat trays or other similar food packaging, plastic or foam wrapping or bean bag beans.
You can recycle all clean white expanded polystyrene foam- including packaging for small and large appliances. Also white polystyrene fruit and vegetable boxes, once the tape and labels are removed.
Help the environment by recycling expanded polystyrene at drop-off locations across Melbourne. As part of the Local Government Polystyrene Resource Recovery Project, FREE polystyrene recycling drop- off facilities are now operational at 9 Municipal Waste Facilities.
Your collected polystyrene will then be taken for reprocessing and recycling, to be made into recycled products for use in the building industry.
The Victorian Government hopes to divert the equivalent of 15 Olympic sized swimming pools of polystyrene from landfill each year.
We’re doing our bit here at CFA HQ. Now’s your opportunity to do the same at home.
For metropolitan users, find out where your nearest drop-off facility is by visiting www.mwmg.vic.gov.au/polystyrene
Our country counterparts can visit their local council website for further information.
*CFA works with Waste Management Groups across the State to minimise the impacts of our waste. CFA HQ East Burwood, District 14 and District 13 offices have worked closely with MWMG to attain ‘Waste Wise Business’ certification. Additionally, Championship management committees and Ops Managers work with RWMGs to develop waste management plans for Championships and staging areas.
Article author: Fiona Mallia, CFA Sustainability Officer