Useful Recycling Ideas for Styrofoam

This everyday material has plenty of unexpectedly helpful uses.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Keep nail polish nice
When applying nail polish, a foam pellet or a small chunk cut from a block of foam packaging placed between each finger or toe will help spread them apart and keep the polish unblemished until it can dry.

Make your own shipping pellets
You’d like to use foam to ship some fragile things, but all you’ve got is sheets or blocks of foam, not pellets. No problem. Just break up what you have into pieces small enough to fit in a blender and pulse it on and off to shred the foam into perfect packing material.

Help shrubs withstand winter
Sometimes shrubs need a little help to survive winter’s ravages. Leftover sheets of extruded tongue-and-groove Styrofoam insulation are perfect for the job. They’re rigid, waterproof, and block wind and road salt. Here are two ways to use the material:

  • To give moderate protection, cut two Styrofoam sheets and lash them together to form a pup tent over the plant. To hold the pieces in place, drive bamboo garden stakes through the bottom of each piece into the ground.
  • For something more substantial, fit pieces together to box in the plants on four sides. Put a stake inside each corner and join the pieces with duct or packing tape.

Plants in containers that overwinter outdoors are more likely to survive with Styrofoam protection too.