This came up again last weekend so I wanted to remind you all that in the City of Austin, black Styrofoam and black plastics can be recycled!
The Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center will accept most foams. It will not accept the 80’s/fluffy/disintegrate-y type foam shown above on the right, but it will accept foam sheets, the squishy foam, the hard foam/all packing foam (except packing peanuts), and all food Styrofoam.
Styrofoam may not go in the blue recycling carts. It is a contaminant in the carts.
Austin will take all the foam colors: white, yellow, pink, green, blue, black, I think I got all of them.
Food foam (egg cartons, to-go cups, take-out containers, meat trays) should be rinsed off and dry. The foam is immediately loaded into a densifier to melt so there is no cleaning at the recycling site.
If floor or shelf space is difficult for you, this is how I collect Styrofoam. We hang a bag on a “S” hook on one of our garage shelves. It’s completely out of the way and doesn’t collect leaves, etc. under it from sitting on the garage floor.
My mom collects her Styrofoam in a big paper shopping bag in the pantry. She has a really spacious walk-in pantry so this works for her. The bag is next to her recycling can.
Not all cities accept all colors so if your city has a drop-off recycling center, check with them to see what types of foam and what colors they accept.
Most shipping places are changing to bubble wrap, my UPS already did, so they are not accepting Styrofoam packing peanuts anymore. The good news is that most newer packing peanuts are plant-based and can be dissolved in the sink or backyard with water. Otherwise, try to find an independent shipping business or post online in Buy Nothing or your local groups to find someone who can reuse Styrofoam peanuts.
See the links at the bottom of the post for central Texas cities but quick cheat sheet for the respective recycling centers (no curbside carts):
– Austin: all foam but peanuts
– New Braunfels: all foam but peanuts
– Round Rock: only foam egg cartons and peanuts
– San Marcos: only foam peanuts and at the Green Guy Recycling drop-off site
I cannot tell you how many times my husband has sent me an article on why black plastic isn’t recycled or shouldn’t be. I am not going to cite these. As with many of the other “negative” recycling news out there, most of it doesn’t apply to Austin, so please check with the Recycle &Reuse Drop-off Center, What Do I Do With?, call 3-1-1 or please ask me. I love to answer questions and it gives me an opportunity to reach out to all of you. If you have the question, chances are others do as well.
Austin, Texas is recycling black plastic. We accept all the colors in the carts.
We don’t look at numbers either. If it’s hard it can go in the blue recycling cart.
If it’s “soft”/filmy it may be able to go to a store plastic bag drop-off station.
City of Austin Residential Recycling / Styrofoam / Apartment Dwellers Guide
City of New Braunfels Residential Recycling / Styrofoam
City of Round Rock Residential Recycling / Recycling Center
City of San Marcos Residential Recycling / Apartment Dweller Quick Facts
Apartments should check with their provider/contractor or that provider/contractor(s) website(s) for instructions/restrictions.