How To Reuse Your Polystyrene Foam

Brown package sitting on doorstep in the sun. Propagate plant cuttings in water. Natural timber frame with suspended glass propagation vessels handcrafted in Australia. Free shipping, Afterpay and Apple Pay available.

Fleur, Arwen, Harper and Paisley Propagation Stations all feature stunning round glass vessels in their design. The most reliable way for us to package this glassware is using polystyrene foam boxes to ensure they don’t turn up broken on your doorstep. 

If polystyrene foam ends up in landfill it can take more than 500 years to break down and if the pieces are small enough, they can often escape the landfill site and end up in waterways.

Polystyrene foam can be recycled. However, it's not as easy as placing it in your kerbside recycling bin for collection with other household recyclables like paper and bottles.

Most city councils operate a polystyrene foam recycling drop off station, where your polystyrene foam can be collected and recycled into domestic building products.

If your local city council doesn't support the recycling of polystyrene foam or you're unable to get there, we've got some alternatives to throwing polystyrene foam in the bin and having it end up in landfill.

1. Keep it for when you move

Moving house is stressful enough without all your Cooper&Smith glassware getting damaged or broken in the process. Keep your polystyrene foam handy so when the time comes to move, you can safely store and transport your glassware.

2. Use it as a plant pot filler

Big plants need big pots. Large amounts of soil can not only get expensive but make the pots extremely heavy and hard to move. Try breaking up your polystyrene foam into smaller pieces and place them into the bottom of your pot before filling with soil. You’ll have a lighter pot, use less soil and the polystyrene foam chunks will also assist with water drainage. 

3. Turn it into seedling starters

The spherical cutouts in the polystyrene foam that support the glassware are perfect seedling starters. They’re small, lightweight and reusable. Use a pin to poke a few holes at the bottom for drainage, fill with a small amount of potting mix, bury your seedlings and watch them grow.

4. Create your own perlite alternative

Perlite is a material that is added to soil to help aid with drainage and help seedlings grow. Give your polystyrene foam a rinse, cut into 1-2cm cubes and place them in your blender with enough water so all the cubes float. Blend until the cubes have all broken down, then drain the mixture with a sieve and let dry before adding to soil. This is definitely the messiest of all our suggestions, and great care should be taken when breaking and blending the foam around children as it can be a choking hazard. 

We hope these ideas inspire you to reuse not only the polystyrene foam you receive with your Cooper&Smith order, but with any new product that comes packaged in polystyrene foam.

Have you tried one of our alternative uses for polystyrene foam, or are you reusing it in another form? We'd love to see! Show us on Instagram by tagging @cooperandsmith in your post or story, or tell us about it on our contact page.