Kalamazoo residents can now recycle foam at four drop-off events this year

By Paul Ploumis

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Residents will be able to recycle certain types of foam in the city of Kalamazoo beginning in April.

Many residential curbside recycling programs, including the city of Kalamazoo’s, do not accept polystyrene or Styrofoam material, often used to make thinks like packing inserts, foam coolers and disposable coffee cups.

The city’s Environmental Concerns Committee is responding to that gap by piloting a one-year program to offer expanded polystyrene foam recycling. In 2021, residents will be able to bring in the material for recycling on any of four drop-off days spread throughout the year, according to the Facebook event created by the city of Kalamazoo.

Residents can bring accepted materials to Mayors’ Riverfront Park, 251 Mills St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of April, July October and, in 2022, January.

Those scheduled dates are: April 24, July 31, Oct. 30 and Jan. 29.

Accepted material will be foam labeled with a six symbol only. Foam must be in clear or translucent bags, and food containers must be rinsed, wiped or cleaned, the event page said.

Sharon Dever, a member of the committee, said improving the recycling system is important to protect the Earth’s resources.

The committee is working with Hope for Creation, an interfaith response to climate change in Southwest Michigan. Volunteers will work at Mayors’ Riverfront Park to collect and sort recyclable materials, which will go into a semitrailer parked on the premises, Dever said. 

More volunteers are needed for the events, she said. Interested residents can sign up to help online.

The Environmental Concerns Committee collected mural proposals from local artists, and will choose one person to decorate the outside of the semitrailer, Dever said. The winner will be selected from among the artist proposals in mid-April, and awarded $2,500 and the paint needed for the mural.