Tampa business recycles Styrofoam - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa business recycles Styrofoam

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It's one of only two facilities of its kind in America.  Tampa-based business 3G1V just started a Styrofoam washing and recycling company.

"3G1V stands for three guys, one vision," said Bryan Andersen.

Their vision was to keep more Styrofoam out of landfills. While clean Styrofoam has been recycled for nearly a decade, if the material is dirty or contaminated it has to be thrown away.  3G1V's facility now makes it possible to recycle even the dirty Styrofoam.

Examples of dirty Styrofoam are the shipping containers for tropical fish or seedling trays from the agricultural industry.  

"We're looking at the schools to see if we can't help those guys out recycling their trays," said Andersen.

Styrofoam is recycled by first grinding it into pieces and then squeezing all the air out of the material.  The end result is a dense block that can be sold to other companies to create new products.  CD cases and picture frames are examples of these new products made from old Styrofoam.

"There's a couple of added extra steps with dirty Styrofoam," said Andersen. "It goes through the grinder into a washing tank that turns the Styrofoam and gets all the contaminants off of it."

From there, the cleaned material goes through a drying process before it is also turned into the dense blocks.

3G1V does not need to completely sanitize the Styrofoam because when the manufacturers create the new products, it will go through a high heat process that will kill any contaminants or bacteria.

While this is only the second facility of its kind in this country, European countries have used this technology for many years. 3G1V is a local company with the vision to bring this recycling method here to help reduce and reuse for the future.
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