Huge demand for recycling Saturday

By Paul Ploumis

IPSWICH — Who knew all that Styrofoam was sitting around waiting to get recycled? Not the town’s waste reduction advisory committee.

Volunteers were swamped on Saturday morning (June 5) at the first Styrofoam pickup in two years. “People came, and we filled that truck up in a hour and a half,” said Dave Benedix, committee chairman.

The event, which also handled electronics, started at 9 a.m. at the Winthrop School.

The electronics trucks were also loaded down, but no one was turned away with that material.

The committee organizes two electronics recycling events a year to help safely dispose of appliances, computers, and other devices that contain toxic metals.

On Saturday, it fell to committee chairman Dave Benedix to tell disappointed drivers that there was no room for Styrofoam. He said two trucks may be booked for the next event in September, or the committee would look into holding a special pickup day for Styrofoam.

“I came for Styrofoam, but he said the truck had left,” one woman told Benedix.

“If you can wait till September, we’ll do it again,” he replied.

As another man came through and was given the bad news, he jokingly asked Benedix if he wanted any.

“I don’t want any,” he replied, adding, “You’re very kind to ask.”

The town pays to remove the goods, which can all be dangerous pollutants. Benedix said Styrofoam recycling costs have risen sharply in recent years. It now costs $1,200 to dispose of a truckload, compared to around $250 five years ago, he said.

Haulers have also gotten fussier and will only accept clean white Styrofoam, he added. Everything else goes in the trash.