Photography By: Chris Redd, Chief Photographer
Over 15 years ago, Diane Sanders had a vision. She realized quickly that as the convenience and usage of Styrofoam increased, which it’s surely would, the bigger and taller landfills would become, the more polluted the ocean would get and the less healthy our loving Mother Earth would become. Sanders needed to find a solution – a way to safely recycle Styrofoam and make it useful again, eliminating the piles of waste that were increasing in size year after year.
First, it is important to understand that Styrofoam is made from polystyrene, a petroleum-based plastic. Its foundation ingredient, Styrene, has been labeled a possible human carcinogen, linked to acute health effects including skin, eye and upper respiratory tract irritation and gastrointestinal effects. Chronic exposure has been associated with depression, headache, fatigue and kidney malfunction. Perhaps Styrofoam has its benefits, but what happens when mountains of this products finds its way into our water and farm systems? What will ultimately happen to our planet as this non-disappearing product and the ever-growing trash piles expand?
Now considered the primary component of marine debris, Styrofoam is becoming more of a detriment to our planet than it is a welfare. In fact, many environmentalists and Earth-advocates are urging consumers to reduce their use of Styrofoam. Why?
According to livestrong.com, the world produces tons of Styrofoam products every year. “Landfills are filling up at a record rate,” says livestrong.com writer Mark Little. “Styrofoam has the potential to affect the entire ecological system of this planet.”
Washington University reports Styrofoam taking 500 years to decompose as it is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable. So, it is no surprise Styrofoam products fill up at least one-third of our landfill space, making the United States the biggest trash producer in the world. Some online sources report this number doubling by the year 2030 if we do not do something and soon.
This is where StyroRez® comes in – with not only a plan to do something, but to do something major.
Until now, there has been no economically or environmentally sustainable process by which Styrofoam could be recycled. Based on the information above, that solitary issue has caused a great deal of concern as this waste has been slowly suffocating our green space – a cause for alarm. The question has urgently become, “What are we going to do?!” StyroRez® has the answer.
Diane Sanders’ concept to eliminate Styrofoam waste became a reality when she reunited with Don Smith, her high school love. Diane and Don’s paths split after high school. Both went on to marry and have families. However, after four decades, both Diane and Don found themselves single and then soon found each other through social media. The two reconnected and their love reignited as though it was never put out, but rather simmering all those years. Don was the missing ingredient to Diane’s master plan to be the first person to develop a Styrofoam solution. Together, that is exactly what they did.
“Years of painstaking research and development have been spent and substantial resources invested in making our revolutionary technology a reality,” explains Diane. The StyroRez® technology is not limited by the quality of the Styrofoam material. If the Styrofoam is dirty or debris, the StyroRez® filtration process removes it. This system closes the loop on sustainability and reusability.
The technology is complex and obviously top secret. However, it can be explained by breaking it down to simpler terms.
First, StyroRez® collects used Styrofoam in any condition. That foam gets fed through a machine that heats it up to a degree that turns the solid product into something pliable – much like taffy being spun. As the transformed foam leaves the machine, it is gathered in a rectangular shaped mold. Watching this process, I was reminded of how a pile of junked cars can be turned into a tiny cube. This step is similar.
After the rectangular blocks of consolidated foam cool down, they are then ground up into smaller particles that resemble stones. Imagine grinding cashews in a nut grinder. This operation is very similar to that, just on a much bigger scale.
Those hard, jagged rocks are carefully poured through a machine and put through a process that converts the particles turning them, once again, into a malleable product. It is at this same time the components of the Styrofoam are broken down, turning it into resin. This flexible resin substance is pushed through a device that molds it int strands that get cut into very small pieces that collect in a container.
The end result is a bin filled with tiny particles of resin, half the size of a grain of rice. In a few minutes, mounds of used Styrofoam can be safely turned into resin. Under one roof, with little manpower, waste that would otherwise never go away can be transformed into resin that can be used to make anything from bottles, bags, furniture and even cars! Did you know many of the fancy sports cars we see zipping down our freeways are made using resin? In fact, these resin pellets can be used to make Styrofoam – and the process done all over again.
What does this mean for all of us? Well, for anyone inhabiting planet Earth, it means a higher quality of life. It means less pollution and waste retention. It means cleaner oceans and waterways. It means less toxins consuming the air we breathe. It means our children and their children will have more green space and less landfills. The environmental benefits go on and on.
For the people at StyroRez® and their licensed dealers, it means substantial financial returns. StyroRez®’s licensed dealerships collect Styrofoam from commercial, industrial and institutional businesses, landfills and other locations, and then process it using StyroRez®’s proprietary technology. The resin produced is sold to plastic manufacturers to be made into all types of plastic products or to industries that have a need for high-quality resins.
StyroRez® licenses two types of dealerships – Dealers and Master Dealers. Prospective dealers indicate which type of dealership is of interest in their dealership application. Dealers and Master Dealers are granted a territory in which to build and manage their own Styrofoam reclamation business. Dealerships can be obtained either in the United States or internationally.
StyroRez® has received numerous Letters of Interest from eager parties in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Their headquarters, located in Ocala, will continue to be their main business office and international training center for future StyroRez® dealers. Support services include, but are not limited to, a strong management team with technical knowledge unique to this exciting new industry, forum for our network of dealers to share experiences and successes and connections with internationally recognized conglomerates in the fields of tax services, banking and finance.
Whether a consumer, licensed dealer or simply someone who understands the urgency of cleaning up and reviving our planet, StyroRez® is changing lives. The cutting-edge, green technology StyroRez® has created will single-handedly cure the cancer that Styrofoam has become within Mother Earth.
For more information on the process or to become a licensed StyoRez® dealer, contact Robert Lope, VP or David Key, Marketing Director at 352.629.6100. You can also visit their website, StyroRez.com for additional information.