Resilient Recycler: Best Options for Block Foam
It can be tricky to figure out where to put your block foam. It's a material that can have many different uses, names, shapes and sizes, making it difficult to categorize. While it's always best to avoid single-use products and packaging, including block foam, it's important to know how to properly dispose of the unavoidable waste. From packing peanuts to takeout containers, it's important to recycle your foam right!
What is Block Foam?
Block foam (often called Styrofoam, a trademarked brand) is composed of polystyrene foam. This is a type of plastic. Not only that, it's one of the most widely used plastics, with several million tons produced every year. Due to its slow rate of breaking down, polystyrene has been known to cause high amounts of litter, waste, and other environmental issues. Though capable of being recycled, it is often not accepted for curbside recycling, as it is too lightweight and low density.
Can I Recycle Block Foam in Clark County?
Clark County residents and businesses cannot put block foam in their curbside recycling; it must go in the garbage. This is because there is not a strong market for polystyrene, and because our local systems aren't designed to sort it, causing disorganization at the Material Recovery Facility.
However, as of November 2016, foam can be recycled for free if taken to certain locations. Both Agilyx in Tigard, OR and Central Transfer Station in Vancouver take block foam for recycling, as long as it is dry, clean (not food soiled) polystyrene. Agilyx even accepts #6 packing peanuts and Solo cups!
How Can I Prevent Block Foam Waste?
There are many ways to prevent block foam waste, so that you never even have to worry about taking it in to be recycled! Easiest is to refuse foam containers and packaging, such as single-use coffee cups or plates. You can also choose not to buy from locations that use polystyrene foam packaging, and ask businesses using that material to consider different options by emailing, calling, or talking to employees. Bringing your own container when purchasing food or taking home leftovers is another great way to cut back on foam container waste.
Your Local Foam Recyclers
7904 SW Hunziker Street, Tigard, OR 97223
Drop-off 24/7 using drop box
Businesses call (503) 217-3160 to schedule a drop off, M-F 8am-4pm
Free for residents and businesses
- Polystyrene block packaging foam
- Polystyrene packing peanuts (must be in clear plastic bag, no starch packing peanuts)
- Polystyrene foam food service items - cups, plates, clamshells, trays (All colors accepted, must be clean and dry)
- Solo (TM) cups
- Only #6 Polystyrene (look for #6 on the packaging)
- NO Construction foam board
- NO Starch packing peanuts
11034 NE 117th Ave. Vancouver, WA 98662
M-F 6am-6pm; Sa-Su 8am-4pm
Free for residents; $5 per yard for businesses
-Polystyrene block packaging foam
-Clean, white, and dry Polystyrene
-Stiff Polystyrene that snaps when folded
-Only #6 Polystyrene (look for #6 on the packaging)
-NO Colored or dyed Polystyrene
-NO Packing peanuts of any kind
-NO Foam with stickers, tape, laminate, paper, cardboard, or any other materials
-NO Squishy foam
*Always call ahead to confirm what items are accepted.
Download the ReycleRight app at RecyclingA-Z.com for on-the-go info at your fingertips!