Americans throw away a staggering 25 billion expanded polystyrene cups each year, according to the EPA. EPS, which is plastic #6 injected with air and is extremely light, also holds your leftovers at restaurants and serves as packing material for shipping and storage, but can be challenging to recycle. Many curbside programs will not accept the material, which leaves consumers on their own to find drop-off locations or mailback programs.
An easier route for dealing with EPS is reuse. Earth911 has rounded up creative people who manage to turn EPS into craft projects and art. These creations might just give you a few ideas for how you can reuse all that extra foam.
One simple solution for extra expanded polystyrene is to using it for printmaking. EPS food trays work especially well for this project.
Ruth Bleakley provides a step-by-step tutorial on her website In the Studio for how to use EPS like a stamp to make unique ink designs. Bleakley demonstrates how you can use the foam to make one print or use the stamp multiple times to create a fun pattern.
You can also find some of Bleakley’s projects for sale at her Etsy shop.