Styrofoam Recycling FAQ's

The City of Houston Now Accepting Polystyrene Foam at the Westpark Recycling Center & the Environmental Service Center (ESC) South

The Solid Waste Management Department accepts polystyrene foam at the Westpark Recycling Center, 5900 Westpark, Houston, TX 77057 and the Environmental Service Center South (ESC), 11500 South Post Oak Rd, Houston, TX 77035. The material is condensed at a 40–to-1 ratio which allows for maximized shipping to facilities where further processing may take place. Here are some common questions we anticipate regarding this new service. If you do not find your answer here, please contact 3-1-1 or visit our website at www.houstonsolidwaste.org.

What is polystyrene foam?
Polystyrene foam is used in thousands of homes by individuals and businesses around Houston and provides superior performance in packaging and food applications. Also commonly known as Styrofoam, it is widely used to keep electronics and other fragile items safe for transportation.

Will the polystyrene foam be collected curbside?
No. Polystyrene foam will not be collected curbside due to bulkiness.

What kind of polystyrene foam is collected and recycled?
Clean, white block type and polystyrene foam packaging is accepted. Polystyrene foam cups, plates and clamshell containers are also accepted but they must be free of all food residue.

Is polystyrene foam with food waste accepted?
No. Only clean packaging that is free of food contaminants, debris and foreign objects such as tape or plastics is accepted.

Where should I take the polystyrene foam?
The Westpark Recycling Center and the ESC South both accept polystyrene packaging.

What happens to the material after it's processed at Westpark?
Once the polystyrene foam packaging is compacted and densified at the Westpark Recycling Center, a recycling vendor collects the material and brokers it to end market users.

Are businesses able to drop-off polystyrene foam?
No. The Westpark Recycling Center and the ESC will not accept polystyrene foam packaging from businesses.

Am I able to drop off "packing peanuts"?
No. Polystyrene packing peanuts are not accepted at either facility.

What kinds of polystyrene foam cannot be recycled?
Polystyrene packaging that has food or chemical particulates on it or has plastic or metal attached to it cannot be used in the recycling process.

What is the market for recycled polystyrene foam?
Almost half of the polystyrene foam packaging recycled is remanufactured into new packaging. Other applications for recycled polystyrene foam packaging include building applications such as siding and deck board, ceiling texture, molding, electronic products, auto products, agricultural products, office supplies, egg cartons, and beanbag filler. Markets for non-foam polystyrene include coat hangers, picture frames, waste baskets, videocassettes, flowerpots, and nursery trays.

The Solid Waste Management Department provides solid waste services to the residents of Houston through the collection, disposal and recycling of discarded material in a manner that is safe, efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective. For more information about the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department and its services, please log on to www.houstonsolidwaste.org, follow us on twitter at houstontrash or like us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/houstonsolidwaste.

Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc. (TPRI) is part of the Refining-Petrochemicals Americas Division of Total S.A., one of the largest integrated international oil and gas companies with operations in more than 130 countries worldwide. TPRI is headquartered in Houston and is a major producer of polypropylene, polystyrene, styrene, base chemicals and polyethylene in the United States. Its refinery produces transportation fuels and other petroleum-based products for the global market. The company employs more than 1, 600 who work in support of manufacturing and research/development activities in Texas and Louisiana. Visit us online at totalpetrochemicalsrefiningusa.com.