Virtually all of our distribution centers include designs to simplify the reuse and recycling of the corrugated cardboard we receive from our vendors. In addition to cardboard, some of our distribution centers have systems in place to recycle other materials, such as scrap metal, pallets, paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, and organics.
In the U.S., our ARRCs are located within many service centers and serve as a central destination for regional recyclable or reusable store material. Select stores send used corrugated cardboard, plastic, excess hangers, store fixtures, display cases, unused boxes, and other supplies to their local ARRC, where the items are processed for reuse in other stores or recycled. As of 2018, we operated 18 ARRC locations in the U.S. These ARRCs service about 62% of our T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, and we plan to continue to open new locations that broaden this service across the nation.
The flexibility of the ARRC organization enables us to test new programs as we strive to increase the types of materials that can be included in our recycling stream. For example, as our global waste stakeholders have identified Styrofoam as a key area of focus, our ARRC organization and network provides the operational testing sites for the Company to implement new technologies that enable better recycling of this material. In this pilot project, we used machinery that compresses and melts Styrofoam into blocks, which are then sent to recycling centers for reuse. In 2018, we were able to divert 15 metric tons of Styrofoam from landfills, and we expect to continue growing this program in the future. Thanks to this initiative and many others, in 2018 alone, the ARRCs helped divert more than 76,000 metric tons of waste from landfills. We are committed to expanding ARRCs across the nation to support our business.
Our two distribution centers in Ontario, Canada have achieved the Recycling Council of Ontario’s 3R Silver Certification for outstanding policies and performance in responsible waste management. We encourage waste reduction and recyclability through our procurement policy, and have improved our diversion rate year over year for the last three years. In 2018, we achieved a combined approximately 95% diversion rate in our distribution centers!
We are pleased to report that in 2018, our European processing centers diverted about 98% of their waste from landfills. We have replaced online bubble wrap packaging with a recycled paper alternative, are recycling waste streams that include plastic, wooden pallets, and cardboard, and now backhaul cardboard and plastics from select stores in the U.K. to processing centers. We continue to look for opportunities to add more stores to the trial and for closed-loop initiatives to support enhanced environmental performance. We also have established one of our ARRCs, which acts as a central destination for storage and distribution of excess hangers, store fixtures, display cases, and more.