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UNCW Recycling Receives Carolina Recycling Association Award

University News
UNCW Recycling received a 2024 Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) Award for expanding its foam recycling program. Pictured from left to right are Recycling Coordinator Amelia Woodruff and Recycling Technicians Jim Lemire, Ford Wright and Brooke Tumblison.
Photo: Michael Spencer/UNCW
UNCW Recycling received a 2024 Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) Award for expanding its foam recycling program.

The CRA Award acknowledges outstanding and innovative technology that contributes to waste reduction in the Carolinas. It recognizes work that has successfully addressed the current challenges of the recycling industry, as well as programs, education or events that demonstrate creativity in promoting or increasing recycling. The award also acknowledges individuals who have shown leadership and made significant contributions to recycling.

“We are excited to receive a 2024 CRA Award and proud to continue to diligently search to expand the items we accept for recycling,” said Amelia Woodruff, recycling coordinator. “We love that we can now recycle the EPE (expanded polyethylene) foam that was previously a contaminant. It is important to remember that recycling these materials only treats the symptoms of the disease that is mass production and over consumption. It is vital that we treat the cause by avoiding single-use plastics and seeking greater producer responsibility.”

In early 2023, UNCW Recycling expanded its foam recycling to include expanded polyethylene (EPE) due to a high volume of contamination in the foam collections. EPEs are less stiff than polystyrene (Styrofoam) and are often used in packaging for shock absorption in shipping. Polyethylene foam is also what pool noodles are made from.

In 2019, UNCW Recycling was the first location in North Carolina to open a foam recycling program that allowed the public to participate. In 2023, UNCW received a $9,627 grant from the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC) to purchase four containers to collect the increased volume of polystyrene foam, allowing the university to expand its recycling capabilities.

Items such as pool noodles, foam packaging, foam coolers and much more can be dropped off at UNCW’s Public Recycling Depot located at 5195 Lionfish Dr.

Visit UNCW Recycling’s website to learn more.