The StyroGenie: Recycling Lunch Trays Made Easy

Schools throughout the United States use roughly 5.76 billion foam food trays each school year.[1] Polystyrene foam, which is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company, is used to make these lunch trays. Instead of tossing used lunch trays into the trash, StyroSmart has developed a new solution to help schools recycle foam.

Recently invented by the creators of StyroSmart® Solutions, the StyroGenie is a low cost, thermal densification machine that reverses the foam manufacturing process by removing the air and returning it to a liquid resin. The resin is then cooled and formed into small briquettes that are easily recycled into other products such as picture frames or paving bricks.

By using a StyroGenie to help recycle foam trays, a school can achieve the following:

  • Reduce foam waste volumes by 95%
  • Save money by decreasing waste removal costs
  • Stop filling the landfills with foam waste
  • Turn used foam lunch trays into reusable products

The StyroGenie is a low cost machine that is easy to use and is a responsible choice for the environment. Standing at six feet by four feet, the StyroGenie can hold up to 1200 trays in each cycle. While it takes about ten hours for the trays to be densified, the machine only uses the same amount of electricity as an average hair dryer. In addition, it operates without any moving parts or harmful emissions, making it safe for the environment.

Currently, there are approximately 100 StyroGenies helping schools across the United States recycle foam. 

Thank you to Jason Womack, StyroGenie manufacturer, for sharing his story with us.