Styrofoam to be banned from curbside collection

In a bid to increase the recycling of single-use plastics, Styrofoam packaging – often used to protect appliances, household electronics, furniture and online deliveries from damage – is being banned from curbside collection.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 19, residents must drop off their Styrofoam packaging at any of Markham’s four community recycling depots. It will be compressed into bricks, then used to make new products, including picture frames, crown moulding and benches. You can continue to put Styrofoam takeout containers and cups in your clear bag garbage or drop them off at a recycling depot.

“Markham already has the highest curbside waste diversion rate of any urban municipality in Canada,” Mayor Frank Scarpitti says. “This is another positive step we are taking to invest in a greener future while ensuring Styrofoam is properly diverted, reused and not placed in our landfill.”

The new initiative is part of the City of Markham’s Diversion Strategy 2: 2020-2023 and has been modelled after the city’s electronics recycling and household textile recycling programs. It promises to increase recycling of single-use plastics and to help increase residential waste diversion from landfills from 81 to 85 per cent, in turn reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Because there are few ways to reuse, recycle or compost single-use plastics, they’re particularly problematic for environmental sustainability. Additionally, much end up as litter on roads, parks, trails and creeks, the City reports. It announced its Styrofoam initiative on the same day the federal government announced single-use plastics like plastic grocery bags, straws, cutlery and six-pack rings will be banned nationally next year.

Some types of foam cannot be recycled. Unwashed and soiled Styrofoam food containers, craft/florist foam, foam wrap, hot tub covers, packing peanuts, pool noodles and rubber foam should be put in clear bag garbage. Unsure of how to properly dispose of an item? Use the ‘What Goes Where’ search tool available on the Access Markham mobile app or on the City’s website. Use the mobile app to check your collection schedule or set up personalized collection reminders.

Markham Village Depot is located at 6041 Hwy. 7 E., Milliken Mills Depot is at 7660 Kennedy Rd. behind the Milliken Mills Community Centre, the Thornhill Depot is at 5 Green Lane and the Unionville Depot is at 137A Main St.

Photo: Beginning October 19, you’re asked to drop off your Styrofoam packaging at one of Markham’s four community recycling depots. Photo courtesy of the City of Markham.

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