Home » Environment
Questions About Recycling
I know that Styrofoam is a big no-no, but I have an egg carton that someone left for me and it says that it is 40% recycled polystyrene. It has the recycling symbol with a 6 in it. Is it recyclable? Thanks!
Great Question Betty!!
No, Styrofoam egg cartons are not recyclable in Minnesota. It is made of 40 percent recycled material; meaning it was made from plastics off the bottom of the plastics barrel, not even really safe as a food storage container.
The triangle with the number inside is not a recycling symbol; rather it communicates the type of plastic used in its manufacture. This is a symbol of the plastics industry rather than the environmental/recycling industry and has nothing to do with recycling.
Plastic #6 – PS (Polystyrene)
A. Polystyrene is Styrofoam, which is notorious for being difficult to recycle, and thus, bad for the environment. This kind of plastic also poses a health risk, leaching potentially toxic chemicals, especially when heated. Most recycling programs won’t accept it.
B. Plastic #6 is found in compact disc cases, egg cartons, meat trays, and disposable plates and cups.
C. It is recycled into egg cartons, vents, foam packing, and insulation, if there are local businesses processing this type of plastic product. At this time, there are no businesses in Minnesota processing used Styrofoam. It is considered waste in our state, see bullet point A above
Most food containers have a 2, 4 or 5 in the triangle meaning it is plastic that is safe for food storage containers.
The reason municipalities do not take Styrofoam is there are no businesses that buy and process Styrofoam in our area. It looks like it may never happen. It is not economically feasible to ship it to a sight where they may process because more energy is used than saved.
I ask people to avoid using Styrofoam. If I am at a restaurant and I want to take home some of my meal, I ask what they use for takeout containers. If they only have Styrofoam, I ask for aluminum foil as all kitchens have aluminum foil. Big plus, your foil is recyclable if you ball it up.