Eco-tip: Camarillo center recycles Styrofoam packaging
By David Goldstein, VCPWA, IWMD
Last month, Astrofoam Molding, at 4117 Calle Tesoro in Camarillo, reopened a drop-off spot where the public can recycle polystyrene transport packaging — those blocks of Styrofoam that protect goods mailed to you through online orders.
The drop-off area was closed for several months in 2018 due to reckless recyclers: Astrofoam couldn’t afford to have workers spend much time removing and disposing unacceptable material.
Astrofoam regrinds foam and mixes it with virgin material to manufacture products such as coolers for perishables, wine shipment boxes, corner and edge protectors and custom transit packaging. If workers miss sorting out a piece of metal in a load of foam, they risk damaging the equipment. If they miss sorting out a label or tape, they risk degrading the quality of their product.
Adding to their challenges, not all foam is the same, so not all can be accepted. Astrofoam does not accept food-service polystyrene such as cups, meat trays, egg cartons or take-out food containers. Food-service polystyrene is vacuum-formed or dry-molded, making it too thin to recycle in Astrofoam’s equipment. Astrofoam’s regrinder also cannot recycle high-density foam or foam thicker than 2 inches.
Astrofoam owner Steve Bevan asks recyclers to come only during open hours. Check-in and drop-off take place only inside the building, and loads should be in a clean bag. Bevan also asks that people call first; Astrofoam’s number is 805-482-7276.