As part of a new recycling program, residents can drop off expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, for free at two sites on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast.
People can bring unlimited amounts of it to the MarBorg Industries center at 20 David Love Place in Goleta, which is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Residents also can dispose 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 Sunday.
MarBorg Industries and the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit Heal the Ocean are taking the first steps to free the area of Styrofoam by offering a pilot program that will recycle expanded polystyrene.
No foam packing peanuts and 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 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 can not put any more Styrofoam in the trash.”
The city of Santa Barbara’s ban on expanded polystyrene products went into effect in January, and prohibits the use of Styrofoam drink and food containers by vendors and the retail sale of expanded polystyrene products.
“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, contact MarBorg at 805.963.1852, or call Heal the Ocean at 805.965.7570.