Styrofoam Recycling

More than you thought

Cities are starting to provide Styrofoam recycling.

Styrofoam can be melted down in a densifier into a block of material that can then be sold for reuse. The City of Austin and New Braunfels provides this service!

I started a neighborhood Styrofoam collection last Christmas when I started to see all the holiday foam going into the carts. It’s always bothered me, and I have taken my wagon around and pulled pieces out in previous years. Honestly though, I get so upset at all the non-recyclables in the recycling after Christmas I decided I couldn’t do that to myself again and last year I decided to do something about part of it.

I filled my Honda Civic full, both inside and the trunk, twice with five days worth of Christmas collection. Due to popular demand, three months later over the course of one week, I filled 2.5 Civics. Styrofoam is a big portion of the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center (ARRDC). The material takes up a lot of space and Austin has a ton of it.

The second run in March resulted in a lot more food items and home remodeling projects foam. Clean meat trays, foam egg cartons, and foam to-go containers can be recycled at ARRDC. Just rinse them off and throw away the meat wrapper and juice diaper; there should be no food contamination. The material is melted on site so there is no washing run prior to processing.

Please consider what we can do to reduce or avoid Styrofoam in the first place:

  • Try to buy local. Less shipping means less need for padding.
  • Try to buy second hand. There is no padding.
  • Write companies about their packaging choices. Education is key.
  • Encourage manufacturer responsibility instead of consumer responsibility for recycling/reuse. This is a game changer gaining momentum. Have you heard about Loop?
  • Bring your own reusable containers for takeout. Containers come in many sizes and materials. I keep a metal tin or a glass jar in the trunk. Sometimes I use a really nice black shoulder bag to take in the container in lieu of a purse if it’s a place I know I’ll have leftovers.

City of Austin Residential Recycling / Apartment Dwellers Guide
City of New Braunfels Residential Recycling
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.