Published: 3/20/2022 5:01:34 PM
Modified: 3/20/2022 5:00:44 PM
In collaboration with Montague and Northfield residents, the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District is holding collections for residents to recycle Styrofoam blocks and sheets throughout the month of April.
“A lot of people have been holding onto their Styrofoam because they just didn’t want to throw it away,” explained Northfield resident Annie Chappell, an organizer and environmental advocate.
The collections will take place the first four Saturdays in April from 9 a.m. to noon and are only open to Northfield and Montague residents. Collection in both towns is free and advance registration is not required.
Northfield residents can bring materials to 105 Main St. in Northfield, the location of Fiddleheads Gallery and the Community Bible Church. According to a Franklin County Solid Waste Management District press release, the drop-off will be behind the building in the parking area. Donors are advised to look for a “MiBox” storage pod.
Residents of Montague can bring materials to the Montague Transfer Station at 11 Sandy Lane in Turners Falls, the release continues. Members of Drawdown Montague, a citizen action group, are hosting this collection.
“Just on my own last year, I had enough (donations) to fill a 10-by-10-by-10 space, and that was just casual,” Chappell said of her inaugural Styrofoam collection, which was held in August 2021.
Chappell framed Styrofoam accumulation as both environmentally concerning, with the material being “toxic in production,” as well as a matter of inconvenience since consumers cannot recycle Styrofoam at home.
“It seems like consumers are always burdened with the waste,” she said. “Waste is a commodity and people get rich off of it.”
The only materials accepted are “Styrofoam,” or expanded polystyrene foam (EPS or PS No. 6) blocks and sheets; rigid flat foam packaging sheets (No. 4 LDPE); and foam insulation board (XPS), the release states. To meet these specifications, volunteers at the two collection sites will review the materials that each resident brings.
These collections will not accept food-related items such as cups, plates, bowls, trays, clamshells, egg cartons, packing peanuts or wet/dirty materials, the release continues. There are no recycling options for these materials — although The UPS Store in Greenfield accepts clean, dry packing peanuts for reuse.
Foam blocks and sheets collected at these events will be recycled at Gold Circuit E-Cycling in Palmer, where Chappell brought the materials she collected in August. For photos of acceptable materials, residents are encouraged to visit the company’s website, recycleyourfoam.com.
Chappell said “proper repurposing” of Styrofoam is possible and productive. She noted her goals extend beyond this year’s collections, with hopes of expansion across the region in mind.
“I think it raises awareness in just a general way and shows how people just wanna do something,” Chappell said of the collection series. “This is a pilot for the two towns. … Maybe this is repeatable by other towns.”
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or