Can You Recycle Foam Boards? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

There may be some common misconceptions about recycling foam boards; some give it the green light, while others aren’t so sure. 

That said, what really happens when you go to recycle polystyrene, otherwise known as styrofoam? Can you recycle foam boards? Continue reading to find out this answer!

Can You Recycle Foam Boards?

Fortunately, you can recycle foam boards, although it is better to reuse or repurpose rather than recycle entirely. Foam boards are made with toxic materials that are not biodegradable and are harmful to the environment. So, recycling and using green-friendly foam boards are two ways you can reduce waste in landfills and conserve natural resources.

If you want to learn more about whether or not foam boards can be recycled, keep reading. This article will share all of the must-know facts about recycling foam boards, such as how to do it and what your recycled foam may end up as.

Can You Recycle Foam Boards?

Plenty of consumers are under the impression that foam boards, also known as foam core or gator board, cannot be recycled. 

This is because this specific type of material is not always accepted at drop-off recycling locations, but why?

The main issue with trying to recycle foam boards is the way it is constructed. 

Furthermore, foam boards utilize two layers of polystyrene, sandwiching a cardboard layer in between. 

Since there are multiple attached layers, recycling companies tend to reject them altogether. 

In fact, in most locations, a garbage truck will not accept your trash if they see styrofoam.

Another big problem with foam boards (and almost every type of foam) is that they are not biodegradable and harmful to the environment, making them unappealing to garbage centers. 

How To Recycle Foam Boards

How To Recycle Foam Boards

There are many different ways to successfully recycle your foam board, although it will not be as easy as other types of recycling.

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Local/Independent Recycling Companies And Businesses

To recycle your foam board, you might have to do a little bit of research. 

Therefore, call around to find a drop-off site for foam boards in your area. First, start by calling your local recycling program company. 

Typically they will offer certain dates and times for dropping off foam boards. 

If your local agencies will not accept the foam board, your next best bet is to contact an independent organization. 

Furthermore, Earth911 is an excellent option and may have programs in your location. 

However, if they are not local to you, Earth 911 may also allow mail-in foam boards for recycling, although this can be somewhat challenging.

You can also check with big-box businesses near you, such as Publix or Wal-Mart, as sometimes, these chain companies offer recycling programs. 

Create Your Own Recycling Center For Foam Board

If you’re struggling to find a place to recycle your foam board, chances are, you’re not alone. 

However, you can take the complication out of recycling foam boards by setting up your very own recycling center specifically for this type of material. 

Here are a few tips to get it done.

  • Set up a pickup service from reputable companies like AFPR.
  • Keep the foam in a dry, protected area at all times.
  • For more specific storing regulations, call AFPR. 
  • See if you can acquire an EPS compactor to save space and make pickup easier.
  • Let businesses and residents know about the new program so they can utilize it.

How To Reuse Foam Boards

Needless to say, recycling foam boards can be somewhat of a challenge. 

That is because this material is not biodegradable and is harmful to the ecosystem, unfortunately. 

However, if you are a crafty individual, it may be better to upcycle and reuse your foam board rather than eliminate it. 

Furthermore, the great thing about foam boards is that it is very easy to cut, making it a great option for upcycling purposes. 

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Below are just a few of the crafty, DIY options for reusing foam boards.

Insulation

One of the best uses for foam board is insulation, however, you have to be extra careful using this material as insulation as it is highly flammable. 

That said, it shouldn’t find itself in locations where it could catch on fire.

Some of the best places to use foam boards for insulation include dog houses or against window panes. 

Sunshade

Why pay for a sunshade for your car when you can make one yourself? The fun part about using foam board as a sunshade is that you have complete control of the design. 

Place pictures all over it or do some cool, funky designs. Let your personality shine through, and you will enjoy setting up your sunshade (and escaping the heat, too)!

Projects

Again, foam boards are incredibly easy to cut, so if you have any projects you’re looking to do at home, using foam boards may be your best option. 

Furthermore, you can create model airplanes or cars or cut them up, color, and create coasters to keep your furniture in tip-top shape!

Storage

With some cutting, gluing, and decorating, you can create DIY storage boxes that are budget-friendly and look great. Click on the link to see how it’s down at Coastal Creative.

Is Foam Bad For The Environment?

Foam boards are not biodegradable, making them already harmful to the environment. 

That is why they need to be recycled properly. Better yet, foam boards should be upcycled and reused. 

However, why are foam boards bad for the environment? It’s due to a few reasons.

Foam Boards Take Up 30% of Landfills

Foam takes an immense amount of time to degrade, so it is not known as a biodegradable material.

Not only that, but it is currently taking up at least 30% of landfills across the world.

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By taking up so much space, landfills cannot hold as much waste as before, and the problem is only getting worse.

Foam Is Toxic

Foam contains a toxic material known as Styrene, which seeps into food and beverages and leaks into the air when exposed to sunlight.

These harmful pollutants are not only dangerous for human consumption but cause harm to the ozone layer.

Harmful To Ecological System

Animals scavenging in landfills will come across foam far more often than they should.

Since foams are made with toxic material, the increase of foam in landfills has a major negative impact on the ecological system. 

This is because animals are being harmed by consuming this material. Not only that, but small pieces can pose a choking hazard to animals as well.

Look at the article at EcoFriendlyHabits to see more facts about styrofoam and how it is negatively affecting our environment.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle juice boxes, whether you can recycle iPhones and other Apple products, and whether you can recycle gift bags.

Conclusion

Foam boards are difficult to recycle and can cause problems in landfills. Therefore, if you are going to recycle foam boards, make sure that you do it the right way by finding a drop-off location or set up your own recycling center for everyone to use. 

However, the better option, though, is to upcycle and reuse foam boards. This helps the environment immensely and cuts down on waste. Another way you can help to improve the environment is to find eco-friendly foam boards instead. 

Author

  • Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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