3. That’s For Real: Plastic Foam
Styrofoam, the trademarked product name from the Dow Chemical Company, is the most common type of plastic #6. Because it is most often used in packaging to help insulate and keep delicate things from becoming damaged during transport, everybody deals with Styrofoam at some point. Recycling it, however, can end up being a bit of a challenge.
But the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers reported that 69 million pounds of EPS were recycled in 2008 alone. That’s an astonishing amount considering that EPS is 98 percent air. So, we know that it does happen, but we also know you can sometimes have it around the house and you’re not sure what the next step is.
Like plastic bags, you can turn around and use them as they were intended: to secure your items in storage or send a package or protect your fragile items. If you’ve wrapped and padded every glass item you can get your hands on, and you still have leftovers, here are some things to explore:
- Crafts abound - Remember those Styrofoam molds that you used to make wreaths as a kid? Well, you could use that leftover Styrofoam that came with your new DVD player to do the same thing. To get your creative juices flowing, check out Dow Company’s Web site dedicated to Styrofoam product use.
- Foundations - Along the same lines, utilize those Styrofoam pieces to keep center pieces upright, line planters or elevate trinkets on display. Think back to your school days and solar systems made of Styrofoam. You can stick pretty much anything in it. Go crazy!
- Glue – This one isn’t a promise on our part, but is too intriguing to pass up: Check out tip #4 from this WikiHow page. Our minds are still a bit blown from this one.
4. Get the Dish: To-Go Containers
Single-use plastics such as the kind found in many to-go containers are often not recyclable and are usually discarded after one use. With today’s hefty portions in restaurants, to-go itemspile up. Before any reuse happens with these items, make sure to thoroughly rinse and sanitize so food residue doesn’t spoil your reuse efforts.
- Classic reuse – Having a dinner party, a play date or any function where friends and food is involved? Saving your to-go container from last week’s take-out could provide a free carry-home for your friends and family. Plus, they can keep it, so there isn’t any Tupperware track-down missions the next time you visit their home.
- Seed starters - As any seasoned grower or newbie green thumb knows, getting a garden to start can be the hardest part. That is where germination containers come in handy. They create mini-greenhouses for your seedlings. But why buy when your old to-go containers can work perfectly? Check out this how-to for more details.
- Yarn holders – Though our office isn’t full of knitters, we definitely see the value in organization. And if you’ve ever had to untangle a ball of yarn, you instantly see the value in this one. Make traveling with yarn easier without spending a dime.