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Posted on: May 18, 2023

Proper Waste Disposal – Foam Items

Foam containers are not recyclable in Palm Beach County.

It’s important that people put their waste in the proper place. Foam products, such as egg cartons, packing peanuts, cups and flat and hinged trays, are not recyclable in Palm Beach County’s dual-stream recycling program. But there are options to keep these foam items out of the landfill.

Foam products are made from expanded polystyrene through a manufacturing process called polymerization. There are two forming processes to make most foam products for food use:

  1. steam-chest molding, where plastic beads are injected with a gas and formed (for cups)
  2. extrusion and thermal forming, where plastic is put into sheets and put into molds to form the product (for plates and hinged trays)

Products made from both of these processes have either recycling or reuse options.

Most foam products, like egg cartons, cups and flat and hinged trays, can be rinsed and taken to local grocers for recycling. Packing peanuts, if kept clean and bagged, can be taken to many pack-and-ship stores for reuse. Just be sure to call your local pack-and-ship store before you go to confirm they will accept packing peanuts and how they want them.

A list of locations that take foam products for reuse or recycling can be found on the SWA’s Where to Recycle webpage. If someone is unable to bring foam items to a location near them, the foam products should be placed into the trash. In Palm Beach County, 1.8 million tons of trash is combusted each year to produce enough electricity each year to power the many industrial facilities on N. Jog Road and another estimated 90,000 homes.

For additional guidance on the proper place to put waste, visit these Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County webpages on:


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