#SCB201701 Styrofoam Cutting BMPs

According to a 2015 study, an estimated 12.7 million metric tons of plastic material used to make Styrofoam was dumped into the ocean in 2010 alone, and that amount is expected to rise. Styrofoam itself is a light weight plastic material that floats and is extremely difficult to clean, especially after it has been broken down into microplastics. On average, Styrofoam takes 50 years to break down, leading to more plastic in the ocean, then fish and marine life death.

What does this mean for your jobsite?

In the City of Lake Forest, many jobsites have been shut down due to the Styrofoam being sawed off in an open space for plastering purposes and not cleaned. As a result, Styrofoam is entering into drain inlets and contaminating our waterways. Per the BMP Handbook, WM- 5, Solid Waste Management, Styrofoam is considered a pollutant and due to the current rhetoric of Styrofoam pollutants at an all-time high, your jobsite could receive a Stop Work Notice if a public works inspector/Stormwater Manager observes Styrofoam residue on your jobsite.

Styrofoam BMPs

To prevent your site from receiving a Stop Work Notice/Notice of Violation and to protect the environment, the following solutions are recommended:

  1. Build a confined area for cutting Styrofoam
    1. Use a garage and cover the entrance with three pieces of plastic to contain the Styrofoam residue. Also, label the contained area as “Foam Cutting Area” to inform plaster trades where to cut their materials.
  2. Use a Hot Wire
    1. Utilize a hot wire to allow Styrofoam to be cut without creating a mess. There are many hot wire companies that make affordable hot wires.
  3. Consult with your plaster company
    1. Discuss with your plaster company the different BMPs to eliminate Styrofoam residue such as the location of the Styrofoam cutting area and their obligations to leave each work day with a clean working area.
  4. End of day clean-up
    1. At the end of each workday, a site clean-up of construction debris and trash should be conducted. Not only will your site be in compliance with the CGP, but Styrofoam residue will be eliminated.