Don’t be misled by the chasing arrows at the bottom of your foam cup or takeout container—that doesn’t necessarily mean you can throw it in your recycling bin.
It’s the number, or resin code, inside the chasing arrows that will tell you whether or not the material, also known as expanded or foamed polystyrene, is accepted for curbside recycling in your area. In Sacramento, materials with the resin identification number 6, which includes polystyrene and foam materials, are not recyclable.
But Dart Container Corporation, a Michigan-based foam manufacturer with a plant in Lodi, still placed an ad at the Sacramento International Airport touting the material’s recyclability. These claims violate state law and Federal Trade Commission guidelines against false advertising.
CAW Executive Director Mark Murray explains the economic costs of the misleading ads:
"People will mistake these as being recyclable…that's going to cost money to the curbside recycling programs because they're going to have to pull this garbage out and pay to dispose of it."
Watch a clip of Mark and read more about the story here.
The Sacramento County District Attorney is conducting an investigation of the claims, and Dart has since replaced the sign with another one.
Forty eight local governments have already banned polystyrene, a problem item that cannot be successfully recycled due to its lightweight characteristics and food contamination issues. At the state level, Senator Alan Lowenthal has introduced SB 568 in the current legislative session which, if passed, would ban foam takeout food containers.