Archive 2008 - 2019

Environmental Help Desk Tip for Week of September 9, 2019

by Utah Nickel

Styrofoam is Forever

Styrofoam is forever.  Plastic is almost as long lasting. Neither is biodegradable.  Buy recyclable and compostable paper cups.  Invest in reusable mugs that you can take with you. 

Don’t throw away that empty plastic water bottle.  Convert it from one-time use by refilling it with fresh water many times before recycling it.  Better yet, purchase a reusable water bottle and skip the one-time use plastics all together.  Small actions such as these can make a huge difference over time. 

Consider as well talking to your coffee shop or restaurant when you see them using Styrofoam or plastic “take home” containers or coffee and soda cups.  Merchants respond when enough customers make the request.

      Provided by Upper Charles Climate Action –


Comments (4)

Peter, John and Rick - I hear you, and you make some good points. Packing peanuts are sometimes accepted and UPS and FedEx store, although I've not reached out to the one on butterfield drive yet. Amen John - it would be great if companies did not use these products, it's great to see some making the switch. Rick, yes we used to take advantage of the Grace Church on earth day before it stopped. Peter, I did some poking around, according to Foam Facts (, it looks like there are at least two facilities that accept foam in our area: Polyfoam ( in Northbridge and Coniglaiaro ( in Framingham. I wonder if a local foam drive might be of interest for folks. I know for one we've been "hoarding" it in the basement in hopes of a drive popping up.

Utah Nickel | 2019-09-11 18:54:10

Unfortunately, the only regional styrofoam recycling plant (was in central MA) closed about 2 years ago. Grace Church in Framingham used to run recycling events for styro- Now we have to dump it in the garbage.

Rick Shansky | 2019-09-09 16:56:53

I've often wondered why styrofoam isn't recycled, but never heard an explanation. On the bottom of Dunkin' cups, there is a recycling logo with the number "6" in it. To my knowledge, our local trash/recycling company doesn;t recycle them either. I suggest companies who sell products must do so in a recyclable container. I think Brookline requires this.

John Locke | 2019-09-09 06:35:51

...and yet, nobody seems to want to recycle it. So the giant styrofoam blocks with the recycle triangle and the boxes of styrofoam peanuts (how I despise those things) go out with the trash. At least some shippers are starting to use shredded recycled cardboard and starch based peanuts instead of styrofoam.

Peter Simpson | 2019-09-09 05:35:22