San Diego

Styrofoam Packaging™

Photo of Styrofoam Block Starting December 26, 2014 the City will be accepting Styrofoam™ block packaging in its curbside recycling stream. Styrofoam™ blocks and forms are commony used to protect electronics, appliances and furniture during shipping. Please note, no packing peanuts, plates, cups or containers.

Why is all Styrofoam™ not accepted?

The reason not all Styrofoam products are accepted in San Diego?s recycling program is because the City designs its acceptance criteria for materials to produce the most marketable recyclables. Our contractor responsible for marketing the products collected in the recycling program has indicated that both packaging peanuts and food service Styrofoam products can contaminate and lower the value of the stream, potentially resulting in the collected Styrofoam having to be landfilled. Packaging peanuts can be made from more than one type of resin, including cornstarch based resins, which don?t have the same characteristics as pure Styrofoam and so will lead to imperfections in new products made from these commingled resins. The packing peanuts may be reused or returned to packing and mailing service retailers. Styrofoam food and drink containers, on the other hand, often have left over food residue which can result in mold growth on the recycled resin because the melting process does not reach a sufficient temperature to burn off organic residues.