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Polystyrene Recycling in Victoria
Our Yarra River Blitz and Litter and Flows projects found that expanded polystyrene (EPS) is the most damaging pollutant within the river. This is particularly disappointing as EPS is a recyclable product. However, unlike paper, glass and plastic bottles, this is not recyclable in your weekly council bins. According to the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group, we only recycle 27% of expanded polystyrene.
To recycle EPS, you can collect it across your home, office and school and then take it to your nearest EPS recycler. The best way to organise this is to set up a large collection bin somewhere indoors, such as in your garage or near where other bins are located in your school or office.
The only type of EPS that can be recycled is clean white expanded polystyrene foam. This is the type of insert you might find inside boxes of appliances or furniture. Thick white polystyrene crates used for shipping fruit and vegetables are also recyclable. However, anything coloured, thin, polystyrene, or contaminated such as meat trays, takeaway coffee cups, bean bag beans or shipping peanut foam cannot be recycled.
Even though it is best to avoid polystyrene, that can be easier said than done! If you have polystyrene that needs to be recycled, you can find polystyrene drop off locations on the google map below or click on this link. (Please note that the opening times or capacity of these centres might have changed due to COVID-19).