Side-effect of COVID-19 more styrofoam heading to landfill
WINGHAM, ONT. -- One of the many side-effects of COVID-19 is being felt at the curb-side in municipalities across Canada.
"People are staying home more. Cooking more. So we’re seeing many more meat trays and take out trays that people would get their food in. It’s on the order of about 1,000 of these styrofoam and polystyrene trays and boxes a week," says Bruce Davidson, who oversees Brockton’s styrofoam recycling program.
That 1,000 styrofoam and polystyrene containers in a week, is more than double what Brockton and nearby Hanover would normally collect.
"Consumption patterns change. We also see it in the bigger packaging pieces, where people are getting at those home improvement projects they’ve been putting off. I want that shelving unit, or vanity, or fridge. Guess what they’re all packaged in; styrofoam and expanded polystyrene," says Davidson.
In Ontario, more than half the styrofoam produced ends up in landfill. Thankfully, in Brockton and Hanover, that isn’t the case.
For the past year, they’ve been densifying and recycling it. Thousands of pieces of packaging, that before last year, ended up at the dump.
"We’re so proud of this program, and hope that it can start in other communities across the province," says Davidson.
Brockton’s densifying program is unique. Very few municipalities do what they’re doing.
"My estimate would be that a city the size of London would produce a 53-foot trailer of expanded polystyrene, not to mention the meat trays and take out containers, every single day," believes Davidson.
Places like Ottawa are seeing a 25 per cent increase in garbage being sent to the curb, and 20 per cent increase in recycling, since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.