StyroCycle Logo
styrofoam image
styrofoam image

What to
recycle

What to recycle

All non-contaminated expanded polystyrene can be recycled, and in fact, can be repeatedly recycled.

EPS manufacturers in Australia go to extensive lengths to ensure they have a closed-loop production model. This means that whatever leaves the factory that is either unused or can be returned for recycling is returned to the system.
Manufacturers collect and recycle scrap polystyrene from several sources:
  • Excess product and offcuts from building sites;
  • Offcuts from the factory floor;
  • Commercial recycling agreements with customers such as packaging companies;
  • General public via recycling bins, council pick-ups and more.
EPS manufacturers have been recycling expanded polystyrene for decades. Over time, they have invested in state-of-the-art EPS machinery and processes that have greatly increased the efficiency of EPS recycling. These machines combines the function of crushing, compacting, and pelletising into one step, thereby reducing manual labour.

Items that can be recycled

Packaging Icon

Packaging

White polystyrene protective packaging from small & large appliances such as TVs, dishwashers and ovens.

Vegetable Boxes

Vegetable Boxes

White polystyrene fruit and vegetable boxes (clean boxes only). All organic material and labels must be removed before recycling.

Construction EPS

Construction EPS

Uncontaminated (mud and concrete free) expanded polystyrene from building and construction sites.

Beanbag Beans

Beanbag Beans

White EPS polystyrene beanbag fill. Must be clean and contaminant free.

Items that can't be recycled

  • Coloured polystyrene
  • Food packaging
  • Peanut-shaped loose foam packaging
  • Meat trays
  • Tape or strapping
  • Plastic or foam wrapping
  • Polystyrene products that have paper/plastic labels
  • Polystyrene covered in dirt, concrete or cement

Items that can't be recycled

  • Coloured polystyrene
  • Food packaging
  • Peanut-shaped loose foam packaging
  • Meat trays
  • Tape or strapping
  • Plastic or foam wrapping
  • Polystyrene products that have paper/plastic labels
  • Polystyrene covered in dirt, concrete or cement

FAQs

EPS takes hundreds of years to break down in landfill. Despite 98 per cent of the plastic packaging being air, EPS takes up large amounts of space in landfill where it can easily be blown away and enter our natural environment.

Despite EPS being problematic in landfill, it is still better to put it in your garbage bin if you do not have a recycling collection point near you.
Polystyrene foam that is dropped off for recycling at specialised collection points is processed using state-of-the-art recycling machines that combine the function of crushing, compacting, and pelletising into one step, thereby reducing manual labour.

It can then be re-purposed and used in everyday, essential items like car seats, bike helmets, food and medical transport, and of course, as sustainable building insulation for Australian homes. The majority of manufacturers place recycled polystyrene back into building products that are essential to building thermally efficient and sustainable homes.
All non-contaminated EPS can be recycled, including:

  • Packaging for small & large appliances (like big screen TVs, dishwashers & oven packaging)
  • White polystyrene fruit & vegetable boxes (clean boxes only – all organic material & labels must be removed before recycling)
  • Uncontaminated (mud and concrete free) expanded polystyrene (EPS) from building & construction sites
  • Bean bag beans
The following items are currently unable to be recycled:

  • Coloured polystyrene
  • Food packaging
  • Peanut-shaped loose foam packaging
  • Meat trays
  • Tape or strapping
  • Plastic or foam wrapping
  • Polystyrene products that have paper/plastic labels
  • Polystyrene covered in dirt, concrete or cement
Unfortunately EPS cannot yet be recycled through your kerbside recycling bin. Putting polystyrene in your recycling bin at home will only cause problems for recyclers and contaminate other materials in your recycling bin.

Do the right thing and drop off your polystyrene for recycling at your nearest drop off point.

Some single-use polystyrene packaging has recently been the focus of a campaign to phase out products like EPS loose fill packaging, EPS food and beverage containers, and moulded EPS packaging for consumer goods.

In March 2021 the Australian Government released the National Plastics Plan. The Plan includes an action for government to work with industry to phase out certain ‘problematic’ plastics like single-use EPS products.

It does not apply to EPS products used in the building and construction industry, some of which are considered green building materials considering the impact they have on the thermal efficiency of a building. The plastics ban also does not apply to many packaging applications where it is re-used and recycled.

The industry-led phase-outs do not apply to:

  • EPS used for business-to-business packaging, such as fresh produce boxes
  • Specialist packaging used in medical applications, for example, organ transport or pharmaceuticals
  • EPS used in building and construction
  • Business-to-consumer packaging where there is a demonstrated and effective reuse model in operation, for example, bulk cold home-delivered meal services