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Styrofoam Packing Chips (Styrofoam peanuts)

Packing peanuts, packing chips
Styrofoam Packing Chips (Styrofoam peanuts)
Polystyrene is the chemical name for Styrofoam, a brand name trademarked by the Dow chemical company. Polystyrene comes in two forms: foamed and non foamed. The foamed form is used as packing material for electronics, or as meat trays or insulation. In its non-foamed state, polystyrene is used to make disposable cutlery, CD and DVD cases and other hard plastic casings. Polystyrene is flammable and contains a multitude of harmful chemicals, making it one of the most challenging items to recycle or reuse.

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle | Facilities

How do I go green?

To reduce your consumption of polystyrene, try to purchase products that come with little or no packaging or in greener packaging materials, such as molded paper blocks, corn based food trays, aluminum trays or foil.  Use recycled newspaper, egg cartons or bubble wrap to pack breakables when moving or mailing packages.

Styrofoam peanuts can be used over again endless times and can be used in the bottoms of your planter pots to increase drainage.  Investigate schools or craft shops that may wish to use the material in art projects. Styrofoam packing chips can also be returned to some courier companies for reuse.

Styrofoam packing peanuts are not accepted in the curbside blue box and bag program, nor are they accepted in the new packaging and printed paper product stewardship program, however they are accepted at the recycling facilities listed below.

Look out for the corn plastics- these are compostable, not recyclable and will contaminate the plastic recycling process.
Important Note: The facilities listed below may only accept certain types of Styrofoam and may have quantity limits and fees. To ensure the facility will accept your Styrofoam for recycling, contact them directly to confirm.


  • Darryl's and James's Digs

    103 East Point Road
    Saturna Island

  • South Jubilee Neighbourhood Association Recycle

    1625 Bank Street

  • The UPS Store - Hillside

    1581 Hillside Avenue

  • The UPS Store - Westside Village

    110 - 174 Wilson Street

  • The Environmental Story

    Do not burn Styrofoam or polystyrene. It is made using benzene, a known human carcinogen. Benzene is released into the air if the polystyrene is burned.

    Polystyrene makes up a significant part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a slowly rotating collection of plastic in the centre of the North Pacific Ocean Gyre. There are 3.3 million pieces of plastic per square kilometer in the garbage patch. Over 8 billion kilograms of plastic ends up in our oceans each year, much of it polystyrene. These plastics don’t biodegrade, but rather break into increasingly smaller pieces, which can cause harm or death to sea birds, fish, turtles and other marine life.

    Using as little polystyrene as possible, and recycling what you do acquire in a responsible manner, is one of the best things you can do for the health of our marine and terrestrial ecosystems.