Creative Ideas on How to Reuse Styrofoam


Facts about Styrofoam

Styrofoam is the trademarked name or term of extruded Polystyrene foam, also known as the EPS foam, manufactured primarily by Dow Chemical.

Polystyrene foam is designated as Plastic No. 6 (See: Guide to Plastic Coding System); a petroleum-based plastic made from styrene monomer and has been linked to cancer in humans. How?

In its production process, a carcinogenic chemical known as Benzene, is used.

So since this chemical is present, it is likely that food in direct contact with Styrofoam would be affected.

This plastic foam material is usually used for food and drink containers, packing material and other items.

It is really difficult to recycle Styrofoam and other EPS materials but then, some creative and unique ideas can be used with Styrofoam especially if we count the environmental benefit we can get when we reuse and recycle these things.

I find it very important to reuse and recycle because this material is hardly biodegradable and can last many decades, even almost forever.

Styrofoam has a high durability and strength making it an excellent packaging material.

They are also good insulators because they contain a lot of air; only 5% of the foam package is Polystyrene.

Even with its great benefits to mankind; Styrofoam, when ingested by animals can block their digestive tracts and may cause untimely death.


Simple Ways How to Reuse Styrofoam:

Always remember to wash very well the materials for it might contain salmonella. Just reuse clean Styrofoam to avoid any diseases and more damage and be aware of its dangers when used excessively.


CUPS, PLATES and TRAYS

  • You can use paper plates and trays as craft and art projects. You can glue seashells or any art papers on them and decorate it with used newspapers. This is fun to try to teach kids to be creative in art.

  • Use Styrofoam cups and trays to divide art supplies such as crayons and glitters and coloured pencils. It can also save time because children wouldn’t need to go on one place just to grab one crayon or beads.

  • Styrofoam cups can also be used as seed starters or pots for seeds, aside from the newspaper pots.

  • Styrofoam cups can also be used to store yarns or other knitting materials and small things and very handy for household paints and varnish.

  • Styrofoam trays can also be used to hold paint brushes, clays and other sticks for the kids.

PACKING PEANUTS or FOAM PEANUTS

  • Packing peanuts can also be used to stuff your own home-made pillows or Santa’s belly at Christmas.

  • You can also use Styrofoam peanuts to decorate your Christmas tree; sew several peanuts and let it dangle down the tree instead of buying plastic decorations.

  • Packing peanuts help keep the ice last longer and its contents colder. You just have to fill a sealable plastic bag with it and place it on top of ice in a cooler.

  • When you received a package with Styrofoam pellets, use it again for your next package. In this way, you saved money for not buying and you save environment too by not creating a demand for Styrofoam.

LARGE / BALLS / DISC STYROFOAM

  • You can make crafty stamps for kids on this one. Cut a piece of it then shape it out. Put paint and let your kids explore his creativity.

  • Large Styrofoam can be use at the bottom layer of planters. Substitute Styrofoam on place of rocks and stones and stuff in for drainage, it is much way lighter.

  • You can also use them as stand for house plants so that the floor won’t be ruined.

  • Large Styrofoam is mainly used on theatrical production as props. There are many uses of this material on theaters and school plays because it is very light and easy to manage.

  • May it be for projects or programs, Styrofoam are very good for creating numbers and letters to be hanged on the walls.

  • Very neat for creative and home-made life jackets.

  • Styrofoam balls can be used as floaters for fishing or dock floaters.

  • Can also be made as a good decoration for gardens.

And if you have a lot of Styrofoam, check with your local shipping business if they want to buy it for shipping purposes or you can donate them.

I strongly suggest that we avoid purchasing Styrofoam materials in the first place. But in case we need it, always find ways to reuse Styrofoam and dispose it properly because of its effect on people, animals and also to our environment.

Since they are space-consuming, they take as much as 30% of landfills, making it hard to reduce the problems in waste and garbage.

Help save nature! What else can you do?

Let’s Paint the World Green!



© 2012 Mycee. All Rights Reserved.

More by this Author


Comments 47 comments

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Myz, another great green conscious hub. My husband is an artist and re-uses styrofoam cups and dishes for storing his paint brushes and as painting palettes; will share this one with him too :) Have also voted and shared all over!!


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi unknown spy,

What a great idea for a hub and excellent ideas here! Styrofoam comes in all shapes and sizes that we may forget, great opportunity to recycle for many things. Great job here, VU, more and shared, pinned!!


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

Good list here. If we can keep this material out of the landfills, we will all be better off in the end. I wish that this product would frankly just go away and get replaced by something that is more environmentally friendly. Here's hoping that your hub will inspire people to reuse, recycle and choose alternatives to this horrible product. Voted up and sharing.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I use this for my planters and have for years, I really never get enough of it, I even use the egg cartons, in fact they are best since they have more volume and of course excellent seed starters.

Up and sharing.


An AYM 4 years ago

Fun stuff. I'm not sure what happenstance of life puts one in possession of giant styrofoam balls, though.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 4 years ago from USA

Hello unknown spy -

Here is a fact or two, perhaps, about expandable styrofoam that I learned way back in the 1950s. When objects are produced of the "foam" it starts off as little plastic beads that have some sort of gas in their centers. The beads are sucked into metal molds to which heat (usually steam) and pressure can be supplied. The heat causes the gas within the beads to expand, and the heat and pressure also cause the plastic part of the beads to stick together. I watched as the manufacturer produced "beer coolers," all of which were many expanded beads thick. They made one of the beer coolers with an extra ingredient that I had supplied to them - little non-expandable resin beads. Those little beads got stuck in between the expanded ones. I made cutouts from the cooler that I used in some medical testing.

Another thing - if you cut across the thin part of a styrofoam plate or cup and look at the cut with a strong magnifying glass, you will see that it is usually only a single bead thick. That might cause you to believe that the stuff is quite strong once it cools down after it was pressed out in its making.

If you want to check out the resin bead stuff, go to USPTO.gov and look at U.S. Patent 3,464,798. Back in its day, that made a lot of money for folks.

Gus :-)))


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Great suggestions, Spy! :) Voted up and shared.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

It is useful, as you say. When I think back though, on how many cups of coffee that I drank out of the stuff, it scares me literally, to death.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I'm glad there are way to re-use styrofoam! It is a terrible recycling headache. This is a list of great ideas that everyone can benefit from. Thanks so much!


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend all great information and suggestions ! Well done !

Vote up and more !!! SHARING ! Go Green !


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

Your hub has a lot of good suggestions. I already re-use most of any styrofoam I get, but you're right that it is a shame to fill up a landfill with something that can be used in many other ways. Voted up and useful.


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 4 years ago

Wonderful hub. Thanks for the ideas. I have some of them in the basement and I will use it when shipping something.

Go green!

Have a nice day! :-)


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

I hate this stuff as I never know what to do with it and hate the thought of it going into landfill. I do reuse it for packing whenever possible. The plates are good to go in between crockery when shifting house too and the cups are good for packing glassware. The plates can be painted and make pretty bases to stand large heavy ornaments on to save marking furniture surfaces too. Some great ideas and suggestions Myz Thank you


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I recycle peanuts, etc. by using them as packing material. When I was a teacher, these made great art projects. Love your idea to use them in a cooler to keep things cold. Voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for the great suggestions, unknown spy. This is another very important hub in your Green series. Styrofoam is horrible stuff for the environment, but you've described some very good ways to reuse it and stop it from being thrown away!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

I live in SF. The city makes money by recycling.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Janine, Suzie, Donnah, Jackie, An Aym, Gus, TT, Deb, Vespa, Tom, Pamela, Meldz, Rosemay, Dianna, Alicia, Mhatter,

thank you so much guys for reading and for putting extra suggestions. I really appreciate it a lot and also I have gained something from yur comments. Gus, will definitely check it out and thank you for putting that to read.

I always appreciate all your support. Hubhugs. Thank you so much.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Geat suggestions! Of course I gravitate toward the 'gardening' type...seriously you have outlined some useful ideas.

Voted up a useful.


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

I did not know that it was linked to cancer in humans. I learned something new today.


agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

Wow, this is another useful idea how to make use of styrofoam so that it may lessen styrofoam being dumped to environment.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Thank you very much Mary!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

thank you for such kind comment Nancy.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

thank you agusfanani! that's really amazing.


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

Thank you for publishing a hub giving ideas for recycling. I am always pushing any opportunity to recycle and Mother Nature thanks you as well.

I am sharing.


kj force profile image

kj force 4 years ago from Florida

unknown spy..I finally found the hub..I had to sign in 6 x..HP seems to have probs lately...anyway loved your hub, I am into recycling and was hoarding all the" peanuts"

from packing..I spread out an old plastic tablecloth and we spray them with day/glo paint ..after they are dry the G-C with plastic gloves add glitter..they can be threaded or glued together in a bunch and hung on outside trees for the Holidays..at the night the solar lamps shine on them...thought you might like the idea...


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Thank you so much Beckie for this wondrful comment.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Hi KJ Force, yeah that's brilliant and very creative idea! Oh i love it! thank you so much for this suggestion.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean

Voted Up and Useful. Very important, practical information. Everyone should say thanks to you.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida

Spy, your last tip is the best. I never buy styrafoam products. They are not biodegradable and just don't fit into the green scheme of things.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Hi Spy,

I really Enjoyed your Hub on "Styrofoam", some Wonderful, Easy Ideas here. I guess just about every "Gadget" we buy, From a Hair Dryer to the Coffee Pot is packed in Styrofoam, so it's pretty hard to get away from. So I really like your last suggestion. Thanks for sharing and the tips.

I now look forward to Following your Hubs.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Ms Dora, thank you so much!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Sha!! thanks and you visited me again. hehehe.. how are you now? yes, at the onset, replace these styros with other biodegradable materials. thanks sha!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Hello B Malin. thank you for dropping by and for the kind comment.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

A wonderful hub! I remembered using styrofoam at school for art activities and props. In my country, styrofoam is used to hold appliances in the boxes set to be carried off to houses. Once again, a wise hub packed with helpful suggestions!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & shared


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Mycee, wonderful and a very useful, hub once again. I love these green hubs of yours. I'd love to know how you make these wonderful and hub relative dividers.

Voting up, useful and sharing on here and G+1.. Pinning too.


learner365 profile image

learner365 4 years ago

Great ideas. I never thought about the Styrofoams beyond its use as a packing material. Your Hub gave me a lot of bright ideas. Thanks for sharing these. I am impressed by the different kinds of useful topics you select for your Hubs.

Well done and keep on the good Hubs coming in :)

Voted up and more !!!!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Hi Ish. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Oh Thank you so much for sharing this too Rajan. Really appreciate it. Oh we always recycle things on our home and there's really a lot of things to do on styro.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Learner, thank you so much that you find this hub really helpful!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Just last week I transferred my crotons into larger pots and used the styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the pot for drainage purposes and also to make the pots lighter when we move them into our garage for the infrequent freezing weather we have here in Houston. I never throw them into the garbage but find other uses or donate them to people who are glad to get them. I am really liking your hubs about recycling items and keeping them out of landfills. Up votes and tweeting.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Hi Pegge. Thanks for stopping by. You've done great! I hope that other people will do the same thing. Can really help us a lot!


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago

Great tips about styrofoam, since it is not recyclable. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas. Well done hub.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

thank you so much toknowinfo :)


Gloshei profile image

Gloshei 4 years ago from France

Great green hub unknown spy, so many uses for this stuff and agree with all, keep them out of our landfills. One thing about France they are very hot on recycling.

I use the deep ones that your meat comes in for starting off seeds and cuttings, must try what Peggy W does use it in the bottome of pots good suggestion.

Keep your hubs coming full of interest.


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Thank you so much for this wonderful comment Gloshei! yes, Peggy's tip is a must try.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Beautiful hub on how to be green! I re-use styrofoam pellets in shippments. The other ideas are very helpful too. It is a shame there is so much of it in the world. Great hub!


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up. Author

Thank you so much Tammy for the support and for reading this.

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