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Weekly Tips | January 09, 2012

Unwrapped!


Whether you have leftover Styrofoam and packing peanuts from mail-order gifts or just purchased a new TV, you no longer have to throw these packaging materials away.

Packing peanuts can be bagged up and donated to any local mail store. Contact the Plastic Loose Fill Council’s Peanut Hotline online or call 1-800-828-2214 for the names of local businesses that reuse them.

Block Styrofoam can be recycled for free at Styro Recycle in Renton. The Styrofoam is chipped, melted and shipped to a picture frame manufacturer.
Corn and plant-based packing peanuts can be saved for a second use or you can dissolve them with water. 

Resources: Styro Recycle | Plastic Loose Fill Council | Seattle Styrofoam Ban

The Big Picture

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam - a.k.a. Styrofoam, does not biodegrade.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 25 billion expanded polystyrene foam cups are used annually the US(1).

Close to 45 million pounds of plastic loose fill are produced each year in the US(2).

When you ship packages that require cushioning, consider using real popcorn or crumpled newspaper as an alternative. The popcorn can be composted and the paper recycled.

Sources: (1) US EPA “Superfund for Students and Teachers” | Plastic Loose Fill Council| (2) US EPA “10 Fast Facts on Recycling”


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