Polystyrene (Foam and Rigid)

Most foam #6 products can be identified by the resin identification code stamped on the material. Foam is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam®, which is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company for extruded polystyrene foam made for thermal insulation and craft applications. Foam #6 is a thermoplastic that can be recycled over and over again. The types of foam products that are accepted can vary between processing facilities.

Check out the resources below to learn more about foam recycling:

Plastic Recycling, Inc. Recycles Foam #6 from a MRF - A new video has been produced that showcases a new recycling facility operated by Plastic Recycling, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana that is designed to process mixed bales of solid and foam polystyrene from curbside residential recycling programs.

The Foodservice Packaging Institute's (FPI) Recovery Toolkit - FPI is the trade association for the North American foodservice packaging industry. FPI encourages the responsible use of all foodservice packaging through promotion of its benefits and members’ products. This toolkit is a comprehensive resource on what foodservice packaging is currently being recovered, collected, processed and marketed. Click here to learn more abou their grants program.

Home for Foam - This website provides a wide variety of resources for city governments, homes & businesses, and schools focused on foam #6 recycling.

EPS Industry Alliance - EPSIA is a Non-Profit Trade Association representing expanded polystyrene (EPS) manufacturers covering transport packaging (non foodservice), building insulation, specialty & custom applications. This site provides a variety of resources for EPS recycling focused on EPS sustainablitiy, technical information, building & construction, packaging, and innovative applications. Click here to learn more about the EPS Industry Alliance mail-back program.EPS Industry Alliance mail-back program.

Poystyrene Recycling Program Map - An interactive map to find a recycling collection program in the United States or Canada that accepts foam polystyrene food packaging, transport packaging or both for recycling. The photo below is an example of one of Dart Container's Foam Collection Centers.

Dart Recycling Center


APR's 2015 Webinar on Foam Recycling: Facts, Figures, and Market Potential - Check out the webinar we led last year on this relevant topic of foam recycling. The link will provide you with the presentation slides from various industry experts.

Recycling Polystyrene (Foam and Rigid) and Expanded Polystyrene - Video from the Waste Sleuth - Todd Sutton, the Waste Sleuth, investigates the recycling of the #6 plastics. His conclusions? Polystyrene (Foam and Rigid) and EPS are highly recyclable, even in curbside programs, and the demands from manufacturers who used the recycled material to make new products exceeds the current supply.

PS/EPS Bale Specs and Best Practices -As communities work to maximize landfill diversion and move towards zero waste, they are often faced with the question of how to manage their polystyrene. This paper was written to answer that question and to offer a list of best practices.