Expanded polystyrene foam otherwise known by its brand name Styrofoam, can simply be defined as plastic and air. Like any plastic, Styrofoam does not easily decompose. For this reason it can cause harm to our environment and wild animals that may consume it. It’s also not easy to recycle expanded polystyrene, as most counties do not allow residents to mix it with other recyclables for residential pick up. However, with modest efforts, you can dispose of your Styrofoam in an environmentally friendly way.
Remove all debris and food from the Styrofoam. Only clean Styrofoam can be recycled.
Separate the Styrofoam from other recyclables. Keep a large waste box or other storage container available that can be dedicated to Styrofoam disposal.
Check your county’s website or call for Styrofoam recycling info and facility location. If one of these facilities is available in your county (that would be great!), deliver the Styrofoam to it. Many counties, however, don’t have a Styrofoam recycling program, in which case you’ll need to try other options.
Look for a local expanded polystyrene foam drop-off center The Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers keeps a list of drop-off centers around the country. The Plastic Loose Fill Council has drop-off centers specifically for Styrofoam peanuts (amazing, right?). See the Resources section for website links.