Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), is the generic industry name for a white rigid material made by expanding polystyrene beads with steam and bonding the beads together under pressure in a block or shape mold. EPS is used in the construction industry for insulation and void fill. It is also used in a variety of packaging applications including coolers, wine shippers, molded end caps and corners. It can be cut into an unlimited variety of shapes.

The same properties that make polystyrene an excellent packaging material — its light weight, low cost and strength — make it difficult to recycle.  The cost of trucking polystyrene to a recycling plant is cost-prohibitive and it has low scrap value. Because styrofoam food containers are usually contaminated, they require cleaning before they can be processed for recycling, another factor which makes recycling generally infeasible.

Local packing and shipping stores may accept EPS items such as “peanuts” for reuse or recycling, including most UPS stores, The Postal Shoppe locations, and more. Search for a location near you at or the EPS packaging organization site.

Foam products may be disposed of in the regular trash collection in Rockford and other local cities served by Rock River Disposal, or taken to one of the locations below:

City of Highland Park, IL
Highland Park Firearms Training Center
1180 Half Day Road
Highland Park, IL
Open Tuesdays and Fridays 7-1

Village of Winnetka, IL
Public Works 1390 Willow Rd
Winnetka, IL 60093
Open Monday – Friday 8:30-4:30

City of Aurora, IL
310 Evergreen Drive
North Aurora, IL  60542
Open 24 hours 7 days a week 
If recycling is not an option, place packing peanuts in a closed and sealed bag and place in the garbage.Do not take packing peanuts to the Household Hazardous Waste Site.

The term STYROFOAM is often used to refer to expanded polystyrene even though the materials are completely different.  Styrofoam is often used in the manufacture of packing peanuts, cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, “take-out” food containers and as form fitting packaging.

STYROFOAM™ is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow. The trademark covers a full range of extruded polystyrene building products used primarily for insulation of floors, walls and roof systems. The insulation panels are commonly referred to as “blue board” in the construction industry.

Dow Chemical’s STYROFOAM Brand Foam also covers a full range of foam products for the floral, craft and special events industries. These products are available in sheets, blocks, spheres, cones and many other shapes. They are available to the consumer from major craft and floral retailers throughout the country.



mmb 04/25/16