How To Dispose Of Styrofoam Safely? Here’s What You Need to Know

Styrofoam is a versatile product that is one of the most often used polymers in insulation and packaging. It is inexpensive and adaptable, and no other substance is as well-suited to shock absorption as this one.

Tons of Styrofoam garbage is thrown away and put into landfills each day, and while it is a popular commodity, it may damage the ecosystem. So, how to dispose of Styrofoam safely?

Fortunately, there are methods for properly disposing of this substance, such as reusing it as styrofoam cups, packing peanuts, and food containers. 

These methods are both cost-effective and ecologically friendly.

Let’s get started!

How To Dispose Of Styrofoam Safely?

Many people choose to throw it away
Many people choose to throw it away

Over 16 million tons of Styrofoam (Polystyrene foam) are manufactured annually on the planet. People have discarded a large amount of this as waste.

The most obvious approach for consumers and shippers to dispose of Styrofoam is to toss it away. But, because polystyrene foam packing is not biodegradable, this is not an environmentally beneficial approach. 

Moreover, the decomposition process might generate poisons that could harm the ecological environment and make it dangerous to burn.

Besides, reusing or recycling are far superior alternatives. Fortunately, polystyrene foam disposal does not have to be difficult if you know to search. 

If you are one of the unfortunate folks who cannot recycle their foam packing at home, you will need to do a fast search on Google.

Earth 911 provides an excellent directory of recycling places. It is time to prepare the Styrofoam for recycling once you have discovered the closest location. 

Remember to ensure it is clean. Make sure any stickers or dirt are removed beforehand. If they think it is dirty, they will throw it away. So, what do you do if you cannot recycle polystyrene foam in your area?

If you have many packings that you need to dispose of, you may send them to a local packaging company. It is less hazardous to the environment to reuse them.

Can You Recycle It?

There are various reasons why recycling your old Styrofoam package isn’t an option. It might be due to the use of the incorrect polystyrene grade.

It is crucial to keep in mind that not all can be recycled. For example, most takeout cartons are polystyrene foam, which is not recyclable. They are from a slightly different type of expanded polystyrene. 

Moreover, you will also have a hard time recycling colorful polystyrene foam. Because the color contaminates the recyclability, recycling organizations will refuse to accept it. 

Even if everything about the Foam is OK, your local recycling facility could not take EPF. It means the Styrofoam cannot return to its original size after extending.

How To Reuse It?

There is a huge amount of polystyrene on the earth
There is a huge amount of polystyrene on the earth

Many businesses have happily reused clean Styrofoam packaging to send items regularly. In this approach, reusing polystyrene foam decreases the requirement for new production.

Moreover, contacting a local primary, art school, or preschool is another method to give polystyrene foam. For DIY projects, polystyrene foam is ideal. The content can be reused in various ways by students and teachers.

Styrofoam may be repurposed in the home and garden. To save space and increase drainage, try repurposing these packings in planters or growing veggies in confined spaces in your backyard.

Styrofoam Cups

You may use these cups for drinking at home since they are washable and reusable several times. It also provides good thermal protection.

Many people have also reported utilizing them to keep small items such as coins, pencils, and other loose items. You may even embellish them to make them more attractive.

We have seen many things made out of polystyrene foam cups. Many people have transformed old cups into lampshades that looked rather nice.

Packing Peanuts

People utilize this substance in packing and shipping mostly
People utilize this substance in packing and shipping mostly

This foam packaging may be reusable for several purposes; however, you should use it for packing again. You may drop them off at a nearby packaging service.

It helps the retailer save money while also getting rid of your trash. You may also use them for other crafts and arts projects, like filling pillows or making a bean bag.

It is not a kid-friendly activity, but it will leave a lasting impression on them. Why not utilize it as ice cubes, as an odd idea? 

Now, we don’t recommend putting them straight into your drink; that might not be a wise idea. However, you may use them for coolers since the foam lasts much longer than you imagine and is reusable.

It would be best to use it as plant pot fillers. However, except for edible plants, it would be perfect for anything else. 

Large plant pots take a lot of soil, so utilizing the foam to fill it up can help you save the soil and weight.

Food Containers

The Styrofoam food cartons you get from the takeaway shop are a nightmare since you won’t recycle them.

You might use them as a kind of seed starter because of their water-resistant and insulating properties, which will help your seedlings get off to a terrific start. Not only that, but it also saves you money on the trays.

You might give them to colleges to use for crafts and arts, or you might give them to your kids. Then, they can paint, cut, and glue Styrofoam parts to make something unique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUxbToKw1no 

Is Styrofoam Worse Than Plastic?

They both harm the environment

They are comparable in many ways, yet neither are biodegrades. Therefore, you may be asking if polystyrene foam is biodegradable.

Both are not degradable quickly; they take roughly 500 years to decompose. And this does not meet biodegradability requirements.

And the parallels do not end there. Both are highly damaging to the environment. Toxic substances in plastic and Styrofoam can leak into your drink and food. All of this plastic harms our local communities.

If one of these winds up in an incinerator, it causes more harm since dangerous pollutants appear when burning:

  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Dioxins
  • Sterne
  • Carbon monoxide

As you can see, they may emit several hazardous compounds, some of which are proven carcinogens, all of which impact the ozone layer. That’s why it is critical to dispose of trash properly.

But, if we had to pick one, we would go with polystyrene foam for a few reasons. The first is due to the quantity of space it consumes.

Without additional blocks of foam packaging, landfills fail to keep up with the amount of waste we create. These blocks will last since they do not decompose.

My second argument is that recycling is quite challenging. We don’t know how much longer we will reuse polystyrene foam since recycling firms lose money.

FAQs

You should not toss it into the garbage bin
You should not toss it into the garbage bin

Here are some questions we have collected while researching this field. We hope these are beneficial to you and save you a great deal of searching time.

Is It Better To Burn Or Throw Away Styrofoam?

Some people believe that burning polystyrene foam is better than recycling or properly disposing of the packing material. 

However, when burning expanded polystyrene, black carbon and carbon monoxide are released into the atmosphere. It is also why you shouldn’t try to burn packing peanuts or Styrofoam yourself.

How Do You Recycle Styrofoam At Home?

You should not recycle this substance. Please dispose of it in your regular trash can. Expanded polystyrene (used to wrap large electrical products) is recyclable. 

Yet, it will break apart like glass in your domestic recycling container. If you want to reuse it at home, check out the quick and easy methods compiled above.

Can You Throw Styrofoam In The Recycling Bin?

No. Styrofoam is not recyclable at the curb. Polystyrene foam in the recycling container will pollute the whole garbage bin; thus, you should keep all polystyrene foam out of the general garbage (Landfill) bin.

Is Styrofoam Recyclable?

Safely reusing this substance will save our planet
Safely reusing this substance will save our planet

Traditional polystyrene foam recycling, like other plastics, isn’t truly a cycle. It is no longer extensible or foam-like after treatment.

Instead, it is made into a more durable material (hard plastic) for use in picture frames, crown moldings, and park benches, among other things. You can recycle it once, in other words.

Can I Burn Styrofoam?

Burning polystyrene foam, also known as polystyrene, is the least environmentally friendly way to dispose of it.

According to studies, burning polystyrene foam emits harmful smoke and chemicals that can harm the lungs and nervous system.

Conclusion

Styrofoam items are lightweight, retain temperatures well, keep objects safe while in transit, and are inexpensive. It is easy to ignore Polystyrene foam’s drawbacks with so many benefits.

However, those who wish to keep Polystyrene foam out of lakes, landfills, and seas have to know how to dispose of Styrofoam safely.

Alternatives to Polystyrene foam, such as recyclable packing peanuts and biodegradable initiatives, can help maintain product efficiency while being safe for transportation and household usage.

Thank you for reading!

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