The Easiest Way to Recycle Styrofoam

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According to an anti-littering campaign in the the state of Missouri, a single Styrofoam container can take more than a million years to decompose. For this reason, many people prefer to drink their morning coffee out of reusable mugs and some companies have stopped using Styrofoam plates and cups altogether. Of course, there are times when you simply cannot avoid buying a product that comes in a Styrofoam container, but if you want to do your part to protect the environment, you should recycle the Styrofoam that you use.

1 Hand-Deliver Your Styrofoam to the Correct Recycling Center

The easiest way to recycle your Styrofoam is to wash it and save it in a paper bag or cardboard box until you have a lot of it. Go to the website, which was created by the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers to help people find the nearest Styrofoam drop-off locations. Resist the temptation to just throw the Styrofoam into the nearest recycling bin because not all recycling centers are equipped to handle expanded polystyrene. If the center does not have the proper machinery or does not see a market for recycled Styrofoam, employees will likely throw it into the garbage.

2 Ship Your Styrofoam to the Recycling Center

Some states, such as Michigan and Ohio, have a lot of drop-off spots so you are likely to find one in your area. However, if you live in Alabama or South Carolina, you might not be able to find a Styrofoam recycling center in your area. Luckily, the same website,, also has a list of locations that will accept clean Styrofoam sent in the mail. Simply gather up all of your Styrofoam and place it in a cardboard box. Tape the box shut and tape a label to it with your return address and the address of the nearest Styrofoam recycling center. Bring the box to your local post office and choose the cheapest shipping option.

Samantha Herman earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University in 2005. Her professional writing career started in 2008, when she accepted an internship at "Willamette Week," a local alternative publication. Upon completing her internship, she became employed as a copywriter for an internet media company. In addition to copywriting, she has written articles for PDX Pipeline and eHow.