New styrofoam densifier introduces new way to recycle

Bruce Davidson and Polystyrene Densifier (Photo by Kirk Scott)

Brockton and Hanover have introduced a way to recycle polystyrene.

Also known as styrofoam, the material has generally not been recyclable. The two municipalities share a landfill site and Friday demonstrated a machine that densifies styrofoam to 50 time less in volume. Bruce Davidson is chair of Brockton’s Environmental Advisory Committee. He says the densifier will eliminate a vast amount of waste from the landfills. The machine is about the size of a washing machine. Davidson says the densifier’s concept is simple.

“You just toss it in and there’s an auger at the base of the machine similar to what you’d have in a snow blower that will chew it up and then it’s fed through a housing that reduces it dramatically in size and it is then compressed together and comes out in logs that are about three feet long and probably eight to 12 pounds,” says Davidson.

The resulting material has a wide variety of uses and can be sold. Davidson says the Brockton and Hanover landfill is one of the first to have a styrofoam densifier.

“Our idea is to implement, demonstrate and then have others replicate what we’re doing so that we can move to a brighter future where we don’t have to worry about this in our landfills.”

The densifier costs about 20 thousand dollars. That was covered with help from Bruce Power and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.