STYROFOAM MEAL TRAYS TURNED INTO REUSABLE ENERGY SOURCE AT AMERICUS-SUMTER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL SOUTH CAMPUS
In a pilot program for Sumter County Schools, Ms. Martha Harvey, Director of Nutrition, seeks to gain information on products and services that will save money, and safely protect our environment. "Our world is being overcome with plastics, Styrofoam and other materials that are used to make products more convenient for our fast-paced society. After use, they are filling our landfills and jeopardizing our adequate space for proper disposal of waste," said Ms. Harvey.
At a recent meeting of the Georgia School Nutrition Directors, Ms. Harvey heard Mr. Lee Bryan, CEO of All Georgia Styrofoam Recycling. "When I heard Mr. Bryan and saw his Styrofoam recycling program, I sought additional information. We now have one recycling unit at Americus-Sumter South Campus," continued Ms. Harvey.
From the disposal of school meal trays in the "Flip it, Smack it, Stack it," unit that is visible near the old meal tray return window of South Campus, the stacked trays are then deposited into a Styrofoam compactor. The trays are then melted into a liquid resin that is cooled into a plastic block. The block will be shipped to outlets and used for production fuel. "The blocks burn five times hotter than coal. One ton of blocks equal four barrels of oil. From the time the tray is emptied by students until the blocks are melted into fuel, there is no damage to our environment. It is a total recycling system that reduces the waste stream," said Mr. Dean Surgeon, a company official.
Research has found that over 30% of landfills space is taken by Styrofoam. School cafeterias and other food service outlets generate much of this waste. The conversion of these trays into consumable power block is a complete recycling program.
"I feel confident that our pilot Styrofoam recycling program will be beneficial in our schools. It will better educate students with more awareness of recycling. As adults, we must be sure that our recycling policies are safe and that our public becomes more aware of these measures," said Ms. Harvey.
Pictured with the thermo Styrofoam compactor are All Georgia Representative, Mr. Dean Surgeon; Director of School Nutrition, Ms. Martha Harvey; All Georgia Representative Mr. Lee Bryan; and Nutrition Manager at South Campus, Ms. Felecia Thomas.