Styrofoam Recycling 

Did you know, it is estimated that styrofoam takes more than 500 years to decompose? Styrofoam has been around since 1941 – but most people are unaware of the harmful effects this petroleum-based product has on our population and our planet. How can a product that is 95% air create such a detriment to people and our planet? 

Styrofoam is made from a product called polystyrene, which is a petroleum-based form of plastic. Styrofoam is used in a variety of ways; from food packaging to packaging fragile products. A 2014 National Toxicological Program report on carcinogens classified styrofoam as a product which is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen – and has been linked to occurrences of leukemia and lymphoma cancer.

Over 5 billion pounds of styrofoam ends up in our landfills and waterways each year.

The world produces more than 14 million tons of styrofoam each year.

Americans alone, throw away around 25 billion styrofoam cups annually.

25-35% of all landfill waste is from styrofoam products.

40% of all styrofoam produced is used for food storage.

Styrofoam that sits in landfills releases methane gases that have over 20 times the ozone-destroying potency as CO2 emissions.

Styrofoam breaks down into smaller particles that marine animals can easily mistake for food.

Styrene, a component of polystyrene, is a harmful chemical that can leach into food and drink.

Less than 1% of styrofoam is recycled.

Global Goodness:

Simply say “no” to products packaged in styrofoam.

The majority of eco-friendly companies have chosen not to use styrofoam in their packaging.  

Purchase a reusable travel cup. Stainless steel or glass cups are a great alternative to to-go cups. 

If eating out, take your own glassware – or simply request a piece of aluminum foil instead of a styrofoam box.  

Planet Protector:

Buy Used. Need a new tv or computer? Look online, or at a used goods store to see if you can find the model you’re looking for. You will save the pesky packaging – and most likely a few dollars.  

Check with your local UPS store about styrofoam recycling. Many times they will recycle styrofoam or connect you with a company who will dispose of it safely for you.

Go to for local recycling options. 

Repurpose it. Need to make an artificial flower arrangement? Want to insulate a dog house? Look online for creative ways to repurpose your styrofoam.  

Ask your local eateries to use eco-friendly packaging.

If styrofoam isn’t banned in your state or county, lobby Congress to ban styrofoam completely. Change can happen when individuals work together for a common cause. Go to to see which areas have current bans on styrofoam. 

Choose to be an Ambassador for Change, and always Spread Love and Spread Light.

In 2021, Washington State passed a new law (S.B. 5022) to reduce plastic waste and strengthen markets for recycled plastic. The policy bans the use of StyrofoamTM packaging in mid-2023, and StyrofoamTM food serviceware like takeout containers and foam cups in mid-2024. 

EvCC Styrofoam Recycling Event

EvCC Students for Enviromental Action (SEA) Club and Sustainability Department invites you to be an environmental hero! Bring clean styrofoam, packing peanuts in bags or boxes, bubble wrap and plastic film to be recycled–for FREE! If you are bringing styrofoam, please consider bringing a donation for the Marysville Food Bank of non-perishable food or monetary donations. We hope to collect as much styrofoam as possible; help us spread the word to your family, neighbors, and friends. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Parking Lot F 10am-2pm

What We Accept
EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) Guidelines
 Your material must be:
• Clean
• Dry
• Free of all tape and any labels so it does not contaminate the recycle process.
• Please bag your peanuts separately for drop off
• No contaminated material accepted.
• We will accept any amount, large or small. Sorry, no hot tub covers, please.

To Identify Your Foam:
• Look for the #6 or EPS inside the recycle symbol
• Bend the material – it should break and snap with loose beads

Polystyrene Examples:

Clean Styrofoam

Clean Takeout

Clean Polyethylene

Clean Shipping Coolers

Clean Styrofoam Sheets

Other Materials We Accept:

Packing Peanuts (in bags or boxes please)

Clear bubble wrap

Clear plastic wrapping (Clean & dry material only)

What We Do Not Accept:

Spray-in Foam

Insta-pak Foam

Grey Insta-pak Foam

Foil-covered Foam

Pink or Blue Insulation Foam (XPS)

Hot Tub Covers

More Info 

SEA Club is all about promoting environmental awareness and having fun while learning about current sustainability initiatives. For more information about this event please contact Laura Wild, Club Advisor at

Learn more about EvCC Sustainability!

Mariya Zelenskyy – Media and Outreach Coordinator