A new polystyrene foam densifier has been unveiled at a recycling centre in Niagara Region, which is the first municipality in Ontario, Canada, to have installed the technology.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and Waste Diversion Ontario’s Continuous Improvement Fund.

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The new polystyrene foam densifier will improve the region's ability to divert waste from landfills and manufacture high-quality end products from recyclable material.

It has been designed to compress large volumes of polystyrene foam into stackable blocks that can be converted into new products, including picture frames, decorative moulds and office supplies. 

The foam will be collected through Ontario's Blue Box recycling programme and regional drop-off depots.

CPIA said that the technology also reduces the number of truckloads used to transport densified foam material for recycling.

Niagara Region chair Alan Caslin said: "This new technology will enhance Niagara's reputation as a leader in recycling by decreasing the amount of materials going to landfills and enabling us to produce higher quality recyclable material with higher market values. 

"This new technology will enhance Niagara's reputation as a leader in recycling by decreasing the amount of materials going to landfills."

“It further demonstrates Regional Council's commitment to the environment, and our willingness to invest in innovative new technology that will reduce costs for Niagara residents."

The solution was financed by a partnership of Niagara Region, the Waste Diversion Ontario Continuous Improvement Fund and CPIA.

It offers a fibre-optical sorting system that uses near-infrared technology to separate recyclable materials, such as newsprint, cardboard and plastic. 

Managed by a board of local volunteers, Niagara Recycling currently provides processing services to around 140,000 households in 12 municipalities.

It also offers collection and processing services for more than 250 industrial and commercial customers, as well as more than 125 schools in the Niagara Region.

Image: Niagara Recycling’s new densifier technology. Photo: courtesy of Canadian Plastics Industry Association.