Alternatives to Sending Out Styrofoam Recycling Alternatives to Sending Out Styrofoam Recycling

If Styrofoam recycling is unavailable in your vicinity, you have other options than stuffing it into the landfill. Some people say Styrofoam takes five hundred years to start decomposing, and others say more than a million. However, Styrofoam never biodegrades naturally and probably will only break into smaller pieces over time. Here are some fun ways to save nature and dispose of Styrofoam in an ecologically friendly manner.

Packing Material

Styrofoam peanuts that filled the last cardboard box you received by parcel post can be reused in several ways. The easiest way is to simply use this material in your own box that you are shipping. Another way is to call your local package delivery service and ask them if they want to have the peanuts. Many delivery services accept donations of packing peanuts. On a different note, if you need packing material and only have large sheets of Styrofoam, you can use an electric knife to cut it down into small pieces.

Insulation for Structures Outside the Home

Sheets of Styrofoam are excellent insulation, providing that they are not used in a living area. If it catches fire, Styrofoam emits poisonous chemicals. However, it would make a cheap insulation for a tool shed. Place Styrofoam sheets between layers of plywood and nail the panels in place. 

Crafts

You can carve into large blocks of Styrofoam to create casts for plaster of Paris.  Styrofoam sheets and larger pieces can be used to make Halloween and winter holiday displays and centerpieces. You can also make smaller ornaments and decorations from peanuts and cups. You can use small pieces of Styrofoam to make dollhouse furniture such as couches, refrigerators, cabinets, beds or bathtubs. You can dissolve Styrofoam with nail polish remover (acetone) to soften it and sculpt it into other shapes. Cutting into a small Styrofoam block, you can make a stamp for simple printmaking crafts or decorative wall art. Egg cartons can be made into a multitude of children's crafts.

Stuffing for Furniture

You can use any mixture of small pieces of Styrofoam to rejuvenate a sagging bean bag chair. If you stuff it into an old pillowcase and stitch it shut, you can create a pet bed. 

Gardening

Used in the bottom of planters, packing peanuts allow you to use less potting mix and improve drainage. In the garden, place old Styrofoam meat trays under squash as they grow to keep their underside firm.

Schools and Community

If the local high school is heading toward Homecoming, you could call them ask if they need Styrofoam to use as a material for parade floats. Community theaters may have a use for Styrofoam to make props or when designing the stage. Large blocks and sheets are especially useful for these purposes. Small Styrofoam items such as egg cartons, peanuts, and cups can be donated to elementary schools and preschools for craft uses.

Water Fun

Cover the Styrofoam with fabric to make a kick board for the swimming pool. You can also construct a floating snack tray to make your pool time more luxurious.

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