Southeast Styrofoam recycling effort yields 80 bags of the stuff
On Thursday August 29th a steady stream of people dropped off armloads and bags of block Styrofoam at the New Seasons "Seven Corners" (7C) Market just north of Brooklyn at S.E. 21st and Division Street. The monthly event, from 1 to 4 pm, was a huge success. Over eighty bags were filled in just three hours.
At the end of the day, Seven Corners New Seasons Store Manager, Joe McCarthy commented: "Holy cow! The dozens of phone calls and all of the mentions in various publications [THE BEE among them] worked! Thanks to everyone involved for 'dialing this event up to 11' and tolerating the squeaky noises of hundreds of blocks of Styrofoam! Great Work, StyroTeam!"
Grace Morgan, New Seasons Operation Manager, wrote in an e-mail afterwards, "The staff members from '7C' were all part of our operations department and Green Team, which focus on sustainability efforts on a store level. It was definitely the biggest collection event we've ever had."
People from all over Southeast and the Portland Metro area came to drop off the clean unwanted packaging pieces – grateful for the chance to get rid of Styrofoam as well as #6 plastics (including garden trays, clam shells – check the number – and meat and fish blue or white trays) which they'd been stashing in their garages, apartments, or backyards.
We cannot thank the '7C' team [six staff from 7C and six staff from the main office] enough for coming through in this event with us. The extra labor, the expertise and the smiles made it all happen. Grace and her team really shined strong to our communities," said Justin Rossman, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator, New Seasons Market.Because other Portland recyclers are no longer accepting Styrofoam, after the collection the plastics were taken to Agilyx in Tigard, the only company in the Metro area processing this type of plastic.
Agilyx appears to be a recycling company on the cutting edge, both nationally and internationally, in recycling plastics. Agilyx CFO Bill Cooper states online: "We break down [with heat] a single-use plastic [like Styrofoam] to the molecular level, and turn it into a poly usable product."
"We are [thus] creating a new product that generates up to 70% less green gases than virgin materials," says John Desmarteau, Agilyx Director of Business Development. "We use a process called 'pryolisis', which is the heating up of plastic in the absence of oxygen. And the great thing about our process is we can accept materials that are contaminated by food, dirt, or agricultural products."
There will be another New Seasons recycling event for Styrofoam and #6 plastics in October. The date, when it is determined, will be posted online – www.newseasonsmarket.com/events
In addition to their monthly recycling events, Rossman informs THE BEE that New Seasons will be soon join other area supermarkets in having permanent drop off boxes for filmy plastic bags at all of their stores. He adds, "These plastics will be sent to a company that makes eco-friendly composite decking from a blend of recycled wood and plastic film. Exciting!"
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