Thursday, April 15, 2010

Recycling Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene)

I don't have anywhere to recycle Styrofoam cups, plates and containers near me, but there are a number of facilities throughout the U.S. where you can take your stuff. Check out these links.

And good for Dart, manufacturer of many of these products, for opening 13 recycling centers across the nation and one in Ontario. From their website:
"Dart currently operates several polystyrene foam drop-off locations at our production plants for anyone who wishes to recycle foam products. In addition we have recycling centers at our production facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ontario, Canada, capable of reprocessing 12 million pounds of foam products annually.

These centers receive foam from local schools, community recyclers, supermarkets, hospitals, manufacturing plants, cafeterias, and individuals.

To facilitate the recycling process, Dart engineers invented a state-of-the-art process for washing and drying used foam food-service products.

Dart sells its recycled polystyrene to manufacturers who reprocess it into useful products. Recycled polystyrene is used in the making of protective foam packaging and "peanuts," egg cartons, building insulation, video cassettes, toys, and office desk products.

Recycling Specifications for Post-Consumer/End User

We can process the following polystyrene foam items provided that they are separated from other materials (e.g. paper, cans, bottles, other plastics), clean, and delivered to one of our drop-off locations.

Foam cups and containers. Cups do not need to be rinsed, but must be empty.

Foam egg cartons.

Rinsed, single-layer, non-perforated foam meat trays.

Foam food trays/lunch trays. Must be either rinsed off or minimally contaminated -- no food remnants.

Most packaging foam: molded forms and shapes. We cannot process flame-retardant material or packaging peanuts.


  1. Trashbasher,
    Two things for you. First, a link to a story that says scientists have found a massive swirl of plastic particles -- former trash broken into tiny bits -- in the Atlantic Ocean. It's disheartening, but also a stark reminder of why it's so important to stop throwing out plastic.
    Secondly, I recently found a big stryofoam thingie on Craigslist that a theater props department was throwing out. It looked like a podium, and we used it for a kids winter olympics event. I wanted to recycle it but it had been painted and was unacceptable. Considering the size of this styrofoam, it amounted to a lot of waste. I wonder if theater departments and others who regularly use styrofoam could be convinced to switch to something biodegradeable, or maybe there's a paint they could use that would allow recycling? Just wondering out loud.
    Keep bashing the trash!

  2. Was it Coon Rapids that rejected the Styrofoam podium as unacceptable?

    Thanks for the link on the plastic swirl in the Atlantic, Matt. You're a great resource!

  3. Thank you so much for this info!! In past State Fair, I remember that Eureka put out containers to encourage recycling plastic spoons and styrofoam cups and plates. I got very excited, thinking that I could recycle such items in St Paul because Eureka does the city-wide recycling in St Paul. However, many of these items are NOT included in the program. Very confusing. At least I now learn from this blog where to recycle stuff. Very informative. Thank you!!

  4. Tom, I'm so glad my blog has been helpful for you! You're right, what you can and can't recycle and where is very confusing. So I'm trying to shed some light on that. Thanks for your comment!

  5. I recommend INTCO recycling who provides Styrofoam recycling solution with no charge, encourage people to collect waste Styrofoam and promise to purchase back these compacted polystyrene. here is the homepage:

  6. Excellent! I am happy that we have the same concept on environmental protection, our company INTCO recycling waste styrofoam to reproduce beautiful frame or moulding to replace wood or marble