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Reducing Solid Waste in Landfillsphoto

In 1996, the manufacturers who are the members of the PLFC diverted 28,350,000 pounds of EPS packaging or nearly 2/3 of all EPS packaging made that year from landfill by recycling it into new EPS packaging (including molded as well as loose fill). Of that, 10,702,125 pounds were post-consumer waste, and 17,647,875 were post-industrial waste. That diversion rate is even larger today.

Close to 45 million pounds of plastic loose fill are produced each year in this country. Recycled content of manufactured loose fill averages 25%.

The following statements are from Franklin Associates, Ltd. (see supplement, "The Waste That Wasn't") a recognized independent expert in collecting national municipal solid waste data for the EPA and many states throughout the United States:

  • "Reuse of loose fill polystyrene reduced virgin polystyrene demand by 22 million pounds in 1994 alone."

  • "Nearly 30 percent of all loose fill ­ or "peanuts" ­ is reused."

  • "For mailing services, the reuse rate is as high as 50 percent."

  • "Prior to 1988, there was essentially no recovery of post-consumer polystyrene for recycling. In 1994, just six years later, more than 34 million pounds of polystyrene were recycled."

  • "The percentage of post-consumer polystyrene diverted from landfills has risen from 0.8% in 1974 to 10.4% in 1994."

  • "Overall, polystyrene products have been source reduced 9% since 1974 ­ this means that 9% less polystyrene was used to manufacture the same amount of products.

  • "Between 1974 and 1994, the amount of polystyrene packaging and disposals diverted through source reduction increased more than 20-fold, eliminating more than 800,000 tons of polystyrene generation over the 20-year period."

Other solid waste savings are less easily measured:

Reduced product breakage from good packaging is itself a source of solid waste reduction. In packaging stress studies, plastic loose fill typically outperforms other void fills.

Because plastic loose fill is approximately 99.6% air, and because less-breakage leads to fewer replacements, there are savings of trucking fuel consumption.

PLFC members voluntarily eliminated the use of ozone-depleting freon (CFCs) in the late 80's.

Click here for more information about EPS loose fill and landfills.



Plastic Loose Fill Council/AFPR, 1298 Cronson Blvd., Ste 201, Crofton, MD 21114