Published on September 4, 2019

Where does all the Styrofoam go?

Wondering what to do with the Styrofoam that came along with your recent purchase? The City of St. Albert has been accepting Styrofoam at the Mike Mitchell Recycling Depot as part of a pilot project since July 1. Instead of throwing it away, residents can drop off clean, white Styrofoam blocks from electronics, appliances or furniture for recycling until the end of 2019.

Styrofoam can be difficult to recycle, because it is large and can break into smaller pieces easily, which contaminates other materials. Once the Styrofoam leaves the Depot, the contractor melts and densifies it on site. Densified blocks are sent away to be turned into products like picture frames and airplane countertops. In July and August, the City’s contractor processed 137 cubes/bags of Styrofoam.

Person holidng styrofoam

Pile of styrofoam

Items that aren’t accepted in the pilot project are Styrofoam food take-out containers, cups or plates. These can’t be recycled and belong in the Brown Garbage Cart. To be successfully recycled, Styrofoam can’t be contaminated with food, liquid, or other residues. Coloured Styrofoam cannot be processed with white Styrofoam because the colourful dyes will contaminate the white Styrofoam. The pilot collects only white Styrofoam packing blocks to ensure that there is minimal contamination so that it may be successfully turned into other products.

Some companies are choosing to package goods in cardboard instead of Styrofoam. The cardboard packaging still cushions and protects the product but is recyclable in the Blue Recycling Bag and at the Mike Mitchell Recycling Depot.

Learn more about recycling in St. Albert.

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Last edited: March 9, 2020