Used in packaging electronics, disposable cups, coolers, and a host of other products, expanded polystyrene (EPS) is expensive and difficult to recycle. Crumbling easily into tiny bits that can pollute land and water, the bulky petroleum-derived material is being banned as packing peanuts and dining products in Washington starting this year.
Members of Washington State University’s Island and Snohomish County Extension teams are working with partners in their region to raise awareness of the challenges surrounding EPS, as well as ways for residents to safely dispose of it. A new Extension-produced video, funded by Snohomish County Solid Waste, shares the challenges and potential solutions of EPS waste, including efforts to reuse or replace it. Some of these strides are being made through research at WSU.
Residents are encouraged to contact their local solid waste departments to learn about recycling options and collection events. Washingtonians can also call 1-800-RECYCLE or visit the Washington State Department of Ecology’s EPS website for information.
The video project directors included Extension Community Outreach Specialist Patricia Townsend and Island County Extension Interim Director Sarah Bergquist.