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St. Lucie County turning Styrofoam packaging into picture frames

Posted at 1:35 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 13:35:54-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — As you unpack new electronics and products from Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, did you know the Styrofoam packaging can be reprocessed and reused?

St. Lucie County is now one of three counties in Florida that can process Styrofoam.

The foam processing center is the newest melting machine turning pieces of foam into profit at the St. Lucie County Bailing and Recycling Facility.

"Along with Indian River and Collier County, we are one of three counties in Florida that now can process Styrofoam," said Rebecca Olson with the St. Lucie County Solid Waste Division.

The division was awarded a $50,000 grant, which is now being used to recycle Styrofoam. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now more of it.

"Some Styrofoam from furniture boxes, these are from home remodeling projects, from electronics, TVs," said Olson.

"We've seen a nice influx of styrofoam coming in. People are home to buy more things and they're creating more waste," said Edward McDuffie.

That waste can be dropped off at the recycling facility and is being turned into picture frames.

The Styrofoam needs to be clean and dry to be recycled. It's put into the foam densifier, heated to 150 degrees and melted down. The final product is sent to Better Frames, a small company based in New Jersey."

"The picture frames are really cool because they're lighter than normal and if you don't like it they can re-melt it down and make you a new one," Olson said.

The county is also looking to expand the process and partner with a local frame maker to keep the recycled foam on the Treasure Coast.

"We want to add more locations so it's easier for our residents to have access to places that are closer to their home to drop off the styrofoam," McDuffie said.