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PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies

Green Team Helps Foam Cycle Revolutionize Styrofoam Recycling

StyroFoam Recycling 101… Lesson Complete

Posted in: Green Teams

styrofoam collection at landfill
Green Team with foam collected at a Sussex County landfill

Foam Cycle and the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCMUA) were fortunate to have been awarded a Green Team from Montclair State University (MSU) to study the first patent-pending Foam Cycle Foam Packaging (aka Styrofoam) recycling system that has been in operation there since 2016. Of the hundreds of students from all over the country that applied for this competitive program, eight teams each made up of five students were chosen to address sustainability issues with the various public and private companies that applied for a team.

In Late May, The Foam Cycle/SCUMA Green Team took to the outside classroom and dug right in spending many days at the Sussex County landfill, operating the Foam Cycle system, tracking the recycled foam from point of generation to a moulding manufacturer, then to a picture frame assemble plant. The team completed a list of deliverables that will forever change the perception that Foam Packaging waste cannot and should not be recycled.

In the end the team helped advance a new product called Better Frame; a picture frame made from 100% recycled Foam Packaging waste that can be traced back to the very site where the foam waste came from. At the core of this concept is that if the frame is broken or no longer wanted, it can be sent back to Better Frame to be recycled and made into a new frame, keeping this waste material out of our landfills and waterways forever. How cool is that! Now that’s a true closed loop circular economy recycling product…If there ever was one.

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The Better Frame web site just launched and yes, you will be able to purchase one of these beautiful frames, along with its environmental story for your office or home! The Foam Cycle/SCUMA Green Team presentation can be found here. The MSU Green Team’s final report, including site analysis data, more detailed information and a sample of the frame can be sent upon request. Just shoot us an email at Info@BetterFrame.org


“BRING IT!”, was another recycling diversion campaign that the Green Team was working on. The aim of the initiative was to help the public understand that Foam Packaging waste cannot be placed in a curbside recycling bin, as it needs to be dropped off to be recycled. If your city, county or municipality has a drop off recycling center, we would be happy to talk to you about installing a Foam Cycle system, incorporating a BRING IT! campaign and becoming a Better Frame partner. Benefits of the partnership would include Foam Cycle buyback of your densified foam at market pricing (currently $400-$600 a ton), with an option for you to purchase picture frames at wholesale pricing. This unique opportunity could offer nonprofit organizations such as Boy and Girl Scouts and local school clubs fundraising opportunities that also raise awareness for your community recycling program.