Also known as EPS or Expanded Polystyrene, Polystyrene is a lightweight and shock absorbing material. As such it’s commonly used for packaging and safely transporting fragile items. But what is its impact on the planet and can it be recycled? Today we are looking at how to dispose of polystyrene in the safest and most environmentally friendly way. 

Polystyrene and skip bins

So you’ve hired a skip bin and want to dispose of your EPS? Hold up a second. Polystyrene is a tricky material which takes over a hundred years to break down. Whilst it can be put into a skip but only in very limited amounts. 

The rule of thumb is that up to 10% of your skip can be polystyrene. Any more than that will lead to excess charges so let’s get this right. Because extra charges make no one happy! The only suitable skip type is a general waste skip (not concrete and demo, soil and dirt or concrete, masonry and hard fill). You can view all skip types here

Disposing of polystyrene at home 

Do you have polystyrene foam at home but no skip bin skip? Know that you should never put it in your recycling bin as it will contaminate the rest of the recycling products. Your best bet is to locate your nearest EPS drop off point. We understand that in instances, the soft plastic drop off location won’t be close to home. In these cases you need to dispose of the polystyrene in your general waste bin. 

Polystyrene drop off points

The Expanded Polystyrene Australia website is the best resource to locate the drop off point in your state. Visit them here

If you continuously have polystyrene to dispose of you can consider engaging a waste company. Larger waste companies like Cleanaway offer a dedicated soft plastics recycling offering. 

What’s the impact of polystyrene to the planet? 

Unfortunately, polystyrene takes hundreds of years to break down. This may sound odd as 98% of the product is made from air. It also takes up a lot of space and is a high risk of flying out of landfill sites into other environments becoming litter. 

There is good news! At the correct recycling point it can be melted down and used to create new products. These include outdoor furniture, decking, skirting boards and picture frames. 

This is a great reason to make the effort to send your polystyrene to a drop off point rather than disposing of it in your general waste bin, 

How to dispose of polystyrene – additional resources. 

Planet Ark is a great resource, You will learn more about Polystyrene and how to dispose of it in the most environmentally friendly way. Visit their website here

For more skip bin related questions, visit our carefully curated FAQs page here

Or to read more from the Jumbo blog access our latest articles here

We hope this article has been useful to those needing to understand how to dispose of polystyrene. It is a common product, one that we are questioned about frequently. Therefore, we wanted to lay out all of these helpful hints and facts to make it super clear and easy for you.