Recycling of block foam packaging no longer available to area residents

Clark County and regional partners will look for new options to recycle block foam after the only processor in the Portland-Vancouver area stopped accepting the material.

Clark County Environmental Services learned earlier this month that Far West Recycling in Portland is no longer accepting block foam for processing.

Consequently, Empower Up, 3206 N.E. 52nd St., will no longer accept block foam. The county has contracted with Empower Up since 2011 to receive block foam and prepare it for processing in Portland.

Until further notice, county residents who lack other options may need to put block foam in their garbage.

“This is unfortunate news,” said Don Benton, environmental services director. “In 2014 alone, our program diverted more than 18,000 pounds of block foam to the recycling processor. That’s a mountain of material, considering how light it is. I want to thank everyone who has recycled to reduce waste. We’ll let you know when new options become available.”

Block foam is a petroleum-based product and can be difficult to collect and process for recycling. The foam, which consists of 98 percent air, typically is converted into dense bricks to make picture frames and other items.

Foam pellets or “peanuts” can still be taken to many local shops for packaging and mailing. Retailers accepting pellets can be found in the Recycling A-Z Wizard at, along with more information about waste reduction.