Foam Plastic #6 (Polystyrene)

Alternative ways to recycle
Do Not Put In Recycling Special Management Instructions

Foam plastic #6 (PS) includes items made from expanded polstyrene (EPS) or Styrofoam™, such as some egg cartons, packing peanuts, and take-out containers.

Foam plastic #6, also called expanded polystyrene (EPS) or Styrofoam, is rarely accepted for recycling and should not be placed in the recycling bin. Due to its high likelihood to become litter and its limited recyclability, NYS banned EPS containers and loose fill in 2020. The ban went into effect on January 1, 2022. Read more about it here

Avoid the use of foam plastic whenever possible, and opt for reusable or more recyclable alternatives instead. Some recycling services throughout the State do offer drop-off spots for EPS, but the effectiveness and economic feasibility of these programs is debated.

Contact your local recycling coordinator to ask about potential collection options near you. If none are available, dispose of these items in the trash.


Help Prevent Litter

Plastic #6 is a lightweight material that easily finds its way into the environment, where it can break into smaller and smaller pieces, forming persistent microplastics. Make sure plastic #6 doesn’t blow away by disposing of it properly.


Takeout Containers Are Not Recyclable

Foam takeout containers are generally not recyclable. Even where certain foam products are recycled, takeout containers are often not accepted because they are difficult to sanitize.


Packing Peanuts Are Not Recyclable

Packing peanuts are generally not recyclable. There are many alternatives for recyclable packaging material. Find out how to dispose of packing peanuts.

Alternative Ways to Recycle

home for foam

Recycle With Home for Foam

Visit Home for Foam to see if there is a foam recycler in your area. These recyclers will accept many foam products, including beverage and food containers. Find out more.

Ways to Reduce

Reusable Packaging For Businesses

Check out Upstream’s catalog of reusable packaging and unpackaging innovators that provide ways for consumers to obtain products, mostly food and beverages, in returnable, reusable, or refillable packaging – or they deliver products to consumers unpackaged altogether.

Did You Know?

Plankton Eating Polystyrene

In the ocean, plastic is being consumed all the way down the food chain. For the first time ever, scientists have recorded plankton eating tiny polystyrene beads. Find out more at New Scientist.

Plastic in Our Bodies

Styrene, a component of polystyrene, has been found in 100 percent of human fat tissue samples dating back to 1986. It is known to cause cancer in animals, and suspected to be both cancerous for humans as well.