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 page about reusing Styrofoam.


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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.
This is the result of only 2 plates!

By melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO

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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 Barbara Kamm from Middletown, DE

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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 Fed from Tri-Cities, TN

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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, 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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March 22, 2005

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.

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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.

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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.

Styrofoam as Perlite Substitute

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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, 2004

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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Styrofoam pieces, often found in gift packaging, can be used to store items such as extension cords, Christmas tree lights and the like. This keeps styrofoam out of the landfill and provides extra storage at the same time.

Using recycled styrofoam to wrap a cord.

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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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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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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, 2004

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)




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.


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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.


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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 Chenell (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 Tawnda (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 Linda (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 Stephanie Green (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 BECKY (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:

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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.

Susan at ThriftyFun

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By chris21 (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 Gil Tampoa (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?

Gil Tampoa
Green Earth Advocate

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By Mark (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 teacher (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 Rod (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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Read More Answers

April 16, 2018

I have 4 of these Sytrofoam blocks (11.4"x11.4"x7") from a shelving unit and nothing that needs to be stuck into them (i.e. screws, etc) and they are solid. What can I do with them that is either creative (I do have access to very sharp cutting instruments) or useful? I don't have kids and live in Greenville, SC and don't know of any recycling places for them. Any ideas? I only have one day to figure it out (don't ask).


April 17, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

Your one day may be over?

  • I like using these for "legs/stands" under a board or rack where I need a quick (maybe temporary) shelf on a counter or ?
  • I have seen photos tacked to blocks this size and stacked on top of each (at an angle).
  • I would be more prone to using them for packing or for partial filling a large pot so it would not be so heavy and would drain well.
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Answer this Question...

August 1, 2011

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

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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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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 Sandi/Poor But Proud from Sweet Home, OR

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September 20, 2018

This manmade material lasts forever. There are a number of ways to use these containers for crafts and even making furniture. This is a page about uses for small styrofoam ice chests.

Styrofoam Ice Chest

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April 30, 2016

This is a page 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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