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City, Waste Management should work together and help save Dart Container

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Posted: Saturday, July 2, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:25 am, Sat Jul 2, 2011.

As Dart Container and other polystyrene makers lobby to defeat a proposed ban on the use of their product in the food service industry, they are also pushing the public to recycle their product.

But, why can’t Lodians recycle polystyrene in their home recycling containers? We think the city of Lodi and Waste Management could help save the 90 jobs at Dart if they would put their heads together.

Extruded polystyrene foam is the proper name for the trademarked material known as Styrofoam. It’s used to make insulated cups, plates, packing material, home insulation and millions of other products. Lots of people think it’s difficult to recycle because it’s so bulky. But Dart Container plant manager Ron Crookham is proud of the local plant’s recycling capability.

Although you won’t be paid for your used Styrofoam, anyone may bring it to Dart at 1400 Victor Road — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you want to do it yourself, just look for the No. 6 in a triangle on the bottom of anything you think is Styrofoam and throw it in a trash bag. When you have enough to justify the trip, you can take it over.

But why do we have to make a run out to Dart to recycle this one material?

Residents of San Diego, Los Angeles and Tracy can recycle polystyrene in their home containers, said Crookham. Neither he nor a Waste Management spokesman knew why home recycling isn’t happening here. Handling recycled Styrofoam is not required in Lodi’s garbage contract, said Justin Caporusso of Waste Management.

Clearly, this is not a priority in Lodi.

But it could be and should be.

There is a healthy market for used polystyrene once it has been compacted by equipment at the local plant, said Crookham. Impressively, he claims not to accept top dollar offered by brokers to China and elsewhere for used polystyrene. He sells below market to California manufacturers who make products like picture frames, decking and fence material available at Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Dart is trying to keep California clean and green.

Its jobs are important to the local economy.

Lodi should get it together.

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