Earth Watch: Dart Recycling

If you have any extra Styrofoam leftover from holiday shipping, you don't have to throw it away. Dart Recycling in Plant City can recycle it for you.

Paper, plastic and even cardboard are common recyclables. Foam packaging usually is not.

“It's more the perception that foam can't be recycled,” said Bob West, Office Manager of Dark Recycling in Plant City.

Most of the time it’s thrown away.

“I know in our area a lot of this goes to the waste to energy facility, which is doing something good. It produces electricity,” West said.

For 35 years, the Dart Recycling Facility in Plant City has given foam packaging new life. It’s recycled to make new products. All you have to do is look for the foam number six recycling logo and drop it off at the recycling plant.

“This type of stuff would be egg cartons you get at the grocery store. Carry out containers, vegetable fruit trays, things like that. Everything that we get here has to be clean, because we don't have a cleaning system here,” he said.

Polystyrene foam is sorted by hand. Bigger pieces are broken down. It’s put in a grinder then melted down and solidified. Boxes of the material are then shipped off to make new items.

“Everything we send out from here goes to another company. It won't go to a landfill or anything like that,” said West.

Pens, picture frames and even some crown molding is made from expandable polystyrene.

“The equivalent of four foam cups would make one ruler,” he said.

A product that can be used again with a story behind it’s makeup.

“It's still just the right thing to do. To recycle anything that we can,” explained West.

Dart Recycling is located at 4610 Airport Road. You can drop off your foam packaging free of charge at one of their drop off bins.

They hope to expand drop off sites throughout the Tampa Bay area.