Also known as EPS or Expanded Polystyrene, polystyrene is a lightweight and shock absorbing material. It’s a type of plastic that is commonly used for packaging and safely transporting fragile items, or items can can get easily damaged during transportation like furniture, electronics, or food. Styrofoam is a trademarked brand name of one type of extruded polystyrene foam. But what is its impact on the planet, and is it recyclable? 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). We have highlighted all skip waste types to avoid confusion. 


Related: Recycling Concrete Waste at Jumbo


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, the disposal of the polystyrene has to happen in your general waste landfill bin. Please note: the filling of bean bags is made of polystyrene beads. 

How to dispose of polystyrene


Related: Illegal Rubbish Dumping 


Polystyrene Drop Off Points

The Expanded Polystyrene Australia website is the best resource to locate the drop off point in your state. Another great resource where to find the collection centres is the “Recycling Near You” website by Planet Ark, which is also Australia wide.  

If possible, try to reduce using this material as it easily contaminates waste with microplastics. If you can’t find alternatives to polystyrene foam, you can consider engaging a large waste company that offers a dedicated soft plastics recycling service. 


Related: DIY Waste Reduction: Creative Ways to Minimise Your Skip Bin Load


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.


Related: Autumn / Winter Clean Up with Jumbo Skip Bins


How to Dispose of Polystyrene Foam – Additional Resources. 

The Recycling Near You directory by Planet Ark is a great resource, you will learn more about polystyrene and how to dispose of it in the most environmentally friendly way by looking for your closest recycling centre. 

For more skip bin related questions, visit our carefully curated FAQs page, or to read more from the Jumbo blog, access our latest articles

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. 

To book your skip bin, visit our booking page, give us a call on 1800 458 626 or e-mail [email protected]