Polystyrene (EPS)

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Expanded polystyrene    red-lid-bin_168354622621846847.jpg

Expanded polystyrene (sometimes called styrofoam) is a used for many purposes:

  • packaging on fridges, washing machines and small appliancesA close up of polystyrene packing peanuts
  • boxes to transport fruit and vegetables or to keep meat and fish cool
  • protection around computer parts and equipment
  • insulation in the building industry
  • take away food and drink packaging
  • trays for packaging and sale of meat, etc.

Unfortunately expanded polystyrene cannot be easily recycled because it is:

  • mostly made up of air
  • hard to separate from other recyclables.

Therefore it cannot go into your yellow lid recycling bin.

It can also become a serious litter problem as it is light so it blows around easily and breaks into small pieces but never completely breaks down.  This makes it a dangerous marine polllutant as it is often mistaken for food by marine animals.  It is very important to dispose of expanded polystyrene responsibly.

Polystyrene meat trays, takeaway food packaging and cups, packing peanuts and foam wrapping material must go in the red lid garbage bin.

Some polystyrene can be recycled   Symbol of three open top boxes with an arrow pointing into each and the words   scc_colour_logo_compressed_2309731269253145382.jpg

The good news is polystyrene has a value if it is kept separate from other materials and recycled. New machinery is now available in your local area to make it easier for us to easily collect, compact and transport polystyrene forboxes-of-polystyrene_45766417304723773.png recycling.

You can take all white expanded polystrene packaging (the type that comes in boxes with new appliances) and fruit/vegetable boxes (plastics identification code 6) to the Minnamurra Waste & Recycling Facility, on Riverside Drive or the Berry Waste Depot (175 Agars Lane, Berry) where they will compact it into a form which can be recycled.  Make sure it is clean and all stickers etc. have been removed.

 Products made from recycled polystyrene pellets include plant pots, picture frames, desk accessories, etc.

The amount of polystyrene sent to landfill each year in NSW would fill the SCG to a height of 125 metres!

The benefits of recycling polystyrene include:

  • conserving resources
  • reducing litter
  • saving on landfill space
  • saving energy.

For more information on polystyrene the NSW Environment Protection Authority have produced a handy fact sheet.