Thumbs Up for Styrofoam Recycling Program

Source: Heal the Ocean


Styrofoam Recycling Collection Center in Santa Barbara

In less than two months of announcing a Styrofoam Recycling Program created in a partnership of Heal the Ocean and MarBorg Industries, the amount of Styrofoam going to the program instead of the landfill (and from there, pieces of it out to sea) – is mind-boggling! Right away, on the first day, construction contractors pulled up to MarBorg’s free drop-off site at 20 David Love Place in Goleta, and private citizens began diverting Styrofoam from their trash bins and taking it to the MarBorg recycling center at 132 Nopalitos, in the lower Milpas area, where a mountain of Styrofoam formed within 2 weeks.


Pat & Maire Radis retrieve Styrofoam from their business trash bin


2-week Mountain of Styrofoam at Nopalitos Dropoff
MarBorg is experimenting with “baling” the Styrofoam, for shipping to a “Densifier” process in Ontario – in which Styrofoam is basically melted into molds that are reusable as picture frames, molding, as well as new packing materials that are necessary for fragile shipments such as glass, ceramic materials (sinks, bathtubs), and electronic equipment such as computers and television screens. The goal is to demonstrate a need for the Densifier equipment in Santa Barbara so that it doesn’t have to be hauled to Ontario. We need everyone to participate to have this happen. Please read here to understand the dire need to keep Styrofoam out of the ocean. Once again and always, Heal the Ocean thanks Brian Borgatello for spearheading this project at MarBorg!

 Heal the Ocean has designated our new intern George Henner as our Styrofoam recycling advisor to assist you in utilizing this program. If you need any assistance or have any questions e-mail us at to get this help.

Remember: If it snaps/breaks it’s Styrofoam, otherwise it’s not. Please do NOT put Styrofoam into your Blue Recycling bins.
Remember also: All this Styrofoam being pulled out of trash bins is NOT going to the Landfill, and from there, to the ocean. Thank you!


Written by Anonymous

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  1. Wow. I have a “Wanted” ad on Craigslist where I’m asking for nice, clean styrofoam for packaging things I sell online. Guess it’s time to stop off at the recycling facility and (hopefully) grab some. I see loads I could reuse.

  2. This is a welcome sight. Polystyrene has a benzene ring as part of its polymer unit cell which makes it a disturbing plastic to release into the environment or into landfills. Polymers with benzene rings in them can become nasty chemicals if combusted. Benzene rings are better of in gasoline and not in the soil or ocean.

  3. People who use this product for packaging and temporary use do a disservice to the community. Please consider other products to meet your business needs. Crushed paper or even inflatable sealed plastic bags are a better choice. Thanks.

  4. This “cheerleading” announcement sounds lovely, but I wonder if I’m the only one who thinks that our County recycling program has gone unconscionably backwards! If ” We need everyone to participate to have this happen,” then they need to make the pickup part of the routine recycling pickup! It is insane to think that every individual household that has occasional (or even frequent) Styrofoam to discard is going to drive to the downtown Milpas area recycling center, and/or that the time, fuel, vehicle emissions, and parking efforts of the willing individual vehicles is somehow more efficient or effective that having it handled VIA (even if not BY) the Marborg trucks that drive past every single location weekly! I hardly believe this is Santa Barbara any more. Isn’t this the birthplace of Earth Day?! After being told last year that we could recycle waxed cardboard boxes (cereal, other foodstuffs, etc)& milk cartons- hallelujah- this year we were re-educated (read: change of plans, folks) that none of those could be recycled any more, nor could plastics such as yogurt cups, food containers, etc, and the **WARNINGS** that all food containers needed to be clean of food were so threatening that even a motivated person (myself) is afraid that I’ll have to wash & sterilize every item I’d like to recycle, which is not likely to happen on a large scale. (Yes, I always rinse everything I discard, anyway, due to the ant problem, but still….) This is DIScouraging and disheartening. Fellow Santa Barbarans, I welcome your thoughts & perspectives.

  5. I am all for recycling but an average car produces about a pound of CO2 per mile. So a round-trip to these drop off locations can produce tons and tons of CO2. Not to mention shipping it to Ontario. Seems like a trade-off of one form pollution for another. Which does more harm to the environment? Why not give financial penalties to landfill operator for illegally dumping the styrofoam in the ocean – then they will build a fence and fix the problem?

  6. Amazing how quickly eco-warriors fade and retreat after a change in the battle plan. We used to have three separate home recycle bins which we took to the downtown recycle center on our own – because we believed in it. Then we got curbside pick-up for those same three bins, which were exploited by the aluminum can hunters picking off the stuff they could turn into cash for themselves. I believe the three separate bins were for paper, glass; and aluminum. Plastics? Can’t remember. But fading when asked to exert a little more than free, unsorted pick-up? Show a little grit.

  7. so I reuse 100% of it to package shipments and occasionally need more sheets, peanuts and bubblewrap. I’ve been putting ads on craigslist to get it all free, occasionaly giving some away when I have too much. Can I get some from Marborg? It doesn’t say if they give it away if you’re going to use/reuse it. The only thing I can’t control is where is goes once the shipment gets to my customers. Is that bad? At least I’m not buying NEW peanuts…

  8. Once upon a time Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty was elected in 1961 on two major campaign promises: no more separating trash to recycle it, and removing all the Red Car railroad tracks that used to run down the middle of the freeways. Now we have reversed those preferences.

  9. Chinese Tariffs drive up prices. Higher prices mean fewer goods. Fewer goods means less plastic. Less plastic includes reduced amount of Styrofoam. Less of everything creates less recycle. Less recycle is less wasteful. All of this is environmentally beneficial.

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