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Reusing Styrofoam

Category Reusing
Styrofoam is one of those manmade products that lasts forever in the landfill or ocean, so think about reusing it. This is a guide about reusing Styrofoam.
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July 2, 2010

Make Styrofoam plates into cute hanging stars after rinsing and letting dry (or brushing off crumbs). I used a stencil of a star for my patterns and cut these out using craft scissors. They are strung on regular sewing thread with a few beads at the top.
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This is the result of only 2 plates!

By melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO

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By 7 found this helpful
June 2, 2009

When planting hanging baskets, put Styrofoam peanuts in the bottom instead of stones. The plants do not stand in water and the baskets will not be so heavy.

By soochatty from Middletown, DE

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By 2 found this helpful
December 14, 2009

I've been doing a lot of crafting making small felt and cloth toys. They measure about 2 - 4 inches. With so many little pieces (and a dog who waits at my feet for fabric scraps!), I needed some way to keep track of everything. I'd been keeping foam meat trays (bleached and washed), trying to find a use.

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Now, my little pieces and patterns are pinned to the back of the tray. Not only do I keep everything, but I can also design things by moving pieces around and keeping them in place with pins! I also put the pins in at an angle so I don't get poked. I 'drill' a hole at the top of the tray with a chopstick, thread a piece of string and hang it from thumb tacks on my cork board! Now I can see my projects and find everything I need!

By DannieB

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March 22, 20052 found this helpful

When filling huge flowerpots, reduce the weight and the amount of soil you need by filling the bottom with recycled Styrofoam peanuts or even chunks of Styrofoam. I get pieces when I need them from the dumpster behind a furniture and accessories store.

By Linda

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By 4 found this helpful
November 11, 2009

I cut out the logos from the Styrofoam cups and cover them with see through plastic. I then glue them to a sheet (e.g.) a poem I made up and give as gifts. Or use as a scrapbook page.

Jewelry can be made out of #6 Styrofoam too. Shapes can be cut out for children to color and paste. Patterns can also be traced on #6 and cut out. The original pattern can be saved because you traced it on to the #6 sheet of Styrofoam.

Small tear in clothes: Cover with foil covered Styrofoam and jazz up your outfit. Sew this on with clear nylon thread. Beautiful!

Use empty egg containers to grow beginning seeds or have kids cover empty/clean coffee cups (#6) with construction paper. Have them color it and paste on to the coffee cup. They can grow a small plant and give as a gift.

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Small shapes can be cut out of #6 Styrofoam to be used as knitting markers when hand or machine knitting. Book markers can also be made out of #6 sheet Styrofoam. Letters can be cut out of #6 white Styrofoam and colored, glued, different color glitter! Makes great artwork for a project.

Jewelry/earrings can be made out of #6 Styrofoam and you can add beads to jazz up the jewelry. You can embroider on top of the Styrofoam for embellishment. You can cut out shapes with the #6 non recyclable coffee lids too!

The non-recyclable Styrofoam #6 actually becomes recyclable.

By lizzy9 from MO

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June 5, 2013

Perlite is exellent for amending soil used for container grown plants and for starting seedlings in a soil or soiless medium. It insures better drainage and aeration which results in a larger, healthier root system.

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I grow lots of plants in containers and particularly in concrete mixing tubs sunken into the ground. Buying enough Perlite for all my containers has become cost prohibitive. I have found a very good substitute.

Thick styro meat trays which have been thoroughly cleaned and scissored into half inch strips and then into about half inch squares are my substitute. An average meat tray will yield about 1 1/2 cups of these little squares. They are put into a blender with enough added water to float the squares near the top. Blending for about 1-2 minutes and then draining in a sieve will give you a nice Perlite substitute. It has the consistency of coarse sand, but very lightweight.

Note: Thin meat trays will not work. They produce an airy, snowflake like product which tends to blow away in the breeze and does not provide any real aeration benefits.

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June 20, 2006

From Styrofoam blocks taken from a new TV box, I created 4 different organizers and a wall flower display with dried or artificial flowers...

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May 20, 20040 found this helpful

Planting large flower pots. Use styrofoam to fill the pots half way. This provides good drainage and makes it easier to move the pots.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 14, 2008

Styrofoam! I re-use all I can. When drying starched items (ie: ornaments), I cover a strip of styrofoam with plastic wrap, stretch to form and pin to place.

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April 30, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about uses for Styrofoam meat trays. Reusing Styrofoam packaging helps keep it out of the landfill. There are a variety of uses for the trays used for packing meat.

Black styrofoam meat tray against a white background

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By 0 found this helpful
June 27, 2011

Styrofoam meat trays or plates make great bases for children's drawings or decoupage projects.

Recycled meat tray with child's art

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 12, 20040 found this helpful

Does anyone know of what can be done with large pieces of styrofoam like computers and stereos are packed in? I have a bunch and don't want to just send it to the landfill. (Originally published 2000-07-28)

Marianne

Answers

December 1, 20000 found this helpful

If there is a mailing service in your area they usually will take and reuse styrofoam from packing boxes, also the styrofoam peanuts, and plastic bubble wrap. I've been doing this for years and am glad that I am not contributing to the land fill.

Dee

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December 1, 20000 found this helpful

I give these to my 2 little boys ages 2 and 4 to hammer golf tees into; older kids could possibly hammer nails. The material does not fall apart and actually closes up when the pegs are pulled out.

Kathy

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August 12, 20040 found this helpful

I use 'polystyrene' to make mirror frames. I cut it with a craft knife into the shape I want, then cut out a hole in the middle. I use old broken mirror that I cut into shape with a glass cutter (use gloves and goggles) and tape to the back with wide masking tape. Use an old paper-clip for a hanging hook, just bend to shape and push in. Then I use paper mache to cover the entire thing. Leave to dry then paint and add your own decoration as desired.

I make these to my own designs and I've sold two which the lady took to the Middle-East for presents for relatives. Especially good as they are sturdy (due to the paper mache) yet light (the polystyrene.)

By chickybiker

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 12, 20040 found this helpful

If you have little ones underfoot, there is no limit to the rainy-day, crafty fun styrofoam can provide. My son and I made a castle, a rocket, a schoolbus.... For the castle, cut each "tower" out of the weird, thin long pieces (Big 'ole kitchen sciccors should work), and attach them to the main "building" (the biggest, boxiest piece) with toothpicks and glue. (hot glue melts the styrofoam, so stick to Elmer's). You can paint it with Tempera paint. (many other paints will also melt the styrofoam, but tempera works very well).
Experiment and have fun...then give the creations to family members as gifts. We do it all the time, and everyone loves watching his "sculptures" evolve as he gets older!
Have fun!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 12, 20040 found this helpful

I do a lot of shipping to my family out of state and I save them and use them myself for shipping. It never fails that I have a box with an indented top that I need "filler" that doesn't weigh much and the styrofoam comes in handy. I also save bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and that foamy wrap that comes on items to save for the same purpose.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 13, 20040 found this helpful

One kind of this styro packing material crumples up into little balls of foam, suitable for filling bean bags. I make the bean bag out of scrap fabric or old clothing (pant leg or shirt sleeve is great) and put a chunk of the stryo material inside, then sew it up closed. I then let the kids break it up, inside the bag, into pieces. They love to do it, too.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 12, 20040 found this helpful

Yes, I am recycling styrofoam panels and blocks everyday. I am developing new panels and blocks for construction and craft projects. For more information please email your request.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 1, 20040 found this helpful

I work for a major sign company. I am trying to find someone who recycles large quantities of styrofoam. If anyone out there has any info on recyclers of styrofoam please e-mail me any info you might have to: becky@signbuilders.com
thanks

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November 1, 20040 found this helpful

Here are a few links. A lot of places will recycle styrofoam peanuts but it is more difficult to find somewhere that will recycle the large pieces. I would check with the disposal company or county waste division about what to do with the styrofoam and if there is anywhere that takes it for recycling. You don't mention where the company is located so I can't really help more.

http://www.oreg  tic_peanuts.html

http://www.plas  ums/gen/945.html

http://greenyes  02/msg00035.html

Susan at ThriftyFun

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 18, 20060 found this helpful

how much styrofoam peanuts do i use to make a bean bag chair?

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December 31, 20060 found this helpful

For most of the country, it may be too long a drive to be worth the bother, but... There is a company in Tucson, AZ called Mikey Block that recycles clean styrofoam and turns it into building materials. They gladly accept whatever you drop off.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 3, 20070 found this helpful

I find the Stephanie Green's suggestion in using Styrofoam for construction panels and building blocks.
Will gladly bring the stuff to you but, it will cost a lot being located in the Asian continent. If I may, would you share your recycling technology for this purpose?

Thanks.
Gil Tampoa
Green Earth Advocate

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 9, 20070 found this helpful

Can Styrofoam be ground up and used as attic insulation? I'm wondering if this is a safe practice with the heat generated in an attic in the summer-time. I'm talking about the rigid panels that come as form-fitted packaging. Right now, I just break it into small pieces. If there is a machine available to grind them into pea-sized particles, it would be even better.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 18, 20080 found this helpful

I am an art teacher. I have the students use them to make styrofoam stamps instead of rubber stamps. Our cafeteria uses styrofoam trays. When I saw how much trash it was creating, I decided to use them for stamps. They are making designs or monograms with pencils and rolling tempera over it. They have a stamp that is personalized and they want to keep it instead of throwing into the landfills! :)

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 4, 20080 found this helpful

"let the kids play with it" seems to be the consensus here. As far as I can see, that's not much of a solution, as it transfers a box or pile of barely manageable size to ten thousand little bits scattered over the landscape. It makes "your" problem "everybody's" problem, and somehow that puts your conscience at rest?

If you have lots of time and an unlimited electrical budget, try baking it in an aluminum pan at 400 degrees or so for half an hour. It reduces the volume considerably, so at least you don't fill up the landfill quite so quick.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 2, 20080 found this helpful

If you have the right tools, there are a lot of things you can do with Styrofoam...crafts, insulation, etc.

Here is a company that sells a variety of foam cutters:

http://www.foamcuttingtools.com

Cheers!

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August 1, 20110 found this helpful

Are there any fun or useful suggestions, tips, or samples of items made from Styrofoam trays that meat from the supermarket comes on? Thanks for the consideration and time.

By Dianne

Answers

August 1, 20110 found this helpful

I wouldn't use any of the packaging from meat, because of lingering bacteria or odors. I only save the styrofoam trays from vegetables.

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

Yes, one of my favorite crafts projects was to get different colored styrofoam trays and get a paper punch that punches holes in paper and punch as many holes in the styrofoam as you can. Then get a needle and thread or clear fishing line and thread the little circles on the thread.

It comes out looking like a very expensive "stone" necklace or bracelet in either turquoise or coral or obsidian depending on the color of styrofoam. White looks like the popular puka shell necklaces. Makes great earrings too! Mix the colors for more interesting combinations. Wish I had a picture but you get the idea.

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

I only use the white meat trays that are fairly clean to begin with--it's impossible to have no meat juices on them, so I wash well w/ soap and hot water.

Then my grandkids and I use them for home-made shrinky dink material. I usually end up experimenting w/ size of item to be "shrunk" and oven temp. before we get it just right. But that's part of the magic. And some trays work better than others.

Here's a photo of a charm that's just out of the oven. Sides need to be smoothed and clasp fitted on back to become a necklace. Button for size perspective.

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August 3, 20110 found this helpful

To Arentwetho,
Neat idea. My grandsons are into friendship bracelets right now and your idea would be great. We use the stretchy cord so they are easy to get on and off the wrist. I bet the punching process is part of the fun.
radioflyer (aka ~gloria)

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By 0 found this helpful
April 1, 2012

The hospital I work for throws a lot of Styrofoam coolers away. I hate that; what can I use them for? I now plant my outdoor plants in them, but what else?

By Lisa

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August 15, 2011

When assembling an item that comes with squares of hardware such as bookcases, you can put the nails and other hardware in the Styrofoam to keep them from rolling around. You can also arrange them as to which ones you need to be able to get to first.

By Robyn F. from Tri-Cities, TN

Block of Styrofoam with nails and screws pushed partway into it

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December 1, 2010

In trying to keep the landfill free of styrofoam, I clean and reuse mine for a lot of things. I use styrofoam under planters, as trays for under craft projects (like those using glitter), etc.

Today, I was nuking some spuds for fried potatoes and transference them from the glass tray to the cutting board. Spuds tend to roll off if carried far, so I popped on a tray and they transferred just perfectly. You can do the same for hot bowls of cereal, soup, or anything you need a little bit more "friction" and help with spillage. I hope this helps!

By Poor But Proud from Sweet Home, OR

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