By Brooke Holland
Noozhawk Staff Writer
As part of a new recycling program, people can drop off expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, for free at two sites on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast.
Residents also can dispose of the material from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday at MarBorg’s recycling space at 132 Nopalitos Way in Santa Barbara.
Both locations are closed on Sundays.
No foam packing peanuts or the soft polyurethane material used in memory foam and packing-cloth sheets may be dumped at the centers.
The drop-offs will accept everything from Styrofoam packaging used to ship electronic devices to construction material. The polystyrene trays holding raw meat or produce must be washed and dried before being dropped off.
Styrofoam is made of non-renewable petroleum products and it never entirely disappears, said Hillary Hauser, executive director of Heal the Ocean. The lightweight material also can break down into tiny pieces with exposure to air.
Expanded polystyrene materials can be dangerous to marine wildlife and other critters because the pieces often are gobbled up as food and ingested, Hauser said.
“Styrofoam is lethal because it crumbles into little pieces,” she said. “We cannot put any more Styrofoam in the trash.”
“Styrofoam is still the only way people can ship fragile stuff,” Hauser said. “The pilot program is repurposing Styrofoam into new products.”
For more information on the pilot recycling program, call MarBorg at 805-963-1852, or – Heal the Ocean at 805-965-7570.