November 9, 2022 Breakfast Meeting Notes
November 9, 2022 Breakfast Meeting Notes
Guest: Tony brought along the new town manager for Plymouth, Scott Weden. Scott has been a resident of Plymouth for 18 years. He has a background in public safety, having previously served the town of Holderness as a police officer, sergeant and police chief, as well as working in the town of Ashland as fire chief. He has also served on our select board and budget committee. After his work in emergency service, Scott worked in risk and health management for the New Hampshire Municipal Association Property Liability Trust. Welcome to Scott!
Tony presented his acclaimed NH Trivia.
50/50 was won by Ken Williamson. Card game draw was won by Renee, but Steve drew for her as she had left. He pulled the jack of clubs so the game goes on.
Our speaker today was Cindy Heath, who runs the Styrofoam Recycling Project for Lebanon. She has been working with Mike Carrier and two other local DGs for the last year to bring Styrofoam recycling to our area.
Extruded polystyrene (brand name Styrofoam, by Dow) is a common packaging material that takes up a lot of space in landfills. It is 2% plastic and 98% air, so compacting it will help save a lot of landfill space. The material is far from benign; it contains many harmful chemicals that leach into food, as it is a petroleum-derived product. Wildlife dies from ingesting it. If it is incinerated, it releases toxic fumes. Even when it is being recycled, it is important to place chunks of material on large tarps to prevent small fragments from escaping onto the ground or into waterways. She recommended a couple of books for those wanting to learn more: Drawdown by Paul Hawkins and the Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet by Paul Connett, for further reading.
Handling our waste stream revolves around the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle. The Styrofoam project aims to work with schools and businesses to get them to choose safer, more environmentally friendly packaging materials, in smaller quantities, and encourages them to reuse foam and other plastics if possible. If reduction and reuse do not eliminate plastics, then recycling comes into play. They have tried to rethink and redesign foam and plastic products and worked with manufacturers to accept return of plastic containers such as coolers.
There are not many facilities that can recycle Styrofoam. There is a large recycling facility in Palmer, MA that can handle large amounts of foam and can handle several types of foam. Smaller portable units or smaller stationary units can only process rigid foam. A company called Foamcycle offered the loan of densifiers to towns and Littleton and Guilford, NH accepted their offer. Lebanon (and soon Plymouth) will work with the Guilford facility. Note that packing peanuts cannot be densified but most UPS stores will accept both plastic and cornstarch-based pellets for reuse.
The machines densify the foam, either by heating it or compacting it, so that it can be reprocessed into solid bricks. Guilford has been able to reduce their waste stream by 1 ton per week by using their densifier. The process starts by collecting the material in a large plastic sack and trucking it to the facility. The material is processed and then extruded into bricks. The bricks are then trucked to Quebec to be remade into picture frames, bicycle helmets, and other useful items.
Rotary’s role in the process is to organize collection sites, provide reliable transportation, and find funding. Fortunately the recycled material does have value, retailing for $700-$900 a ton. There are also logistical challenges, such as trying to make sure that Guilford’s densifier is not overloaded by very large shipment of foam.
As part of our recycling efforts, Rotary can identify collection sites, arrange for transport of material, recruit volunteers to direct traffic, inspect to be sure that only #6 foam is submitted, pack material tightly onto a truck, provide publicity for the effort and educate the public about reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic waste. For example, we can suggest that businesses use compostable plant-based packaging or less packaging in general.
Steve gave a final update on the Penny Sale. We raised over $32,000 and once the expenses are deducted we should net about $30,000. He also passed out lists of donors for which we do not have email addresses and asked everyone to get these to Sharon. Note that if you had given email addresses to Sharon previously she may not have entered them in the system yet, so check with her to see if she needs more information or not.
Alicia will be providing a 24 foot flatbed trailer for us to use for a float for the Hometown Holiday Celebration. If you are interested in helping her design and decorate the float, please speak to her.
Respectfully submitted,
Lora Miller, secretary