How to Grind Up Styrofoam

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Ever wonder what to do with Styrofoam packaging, coffee cups and food containers? Since Styrofoam doesn’t break down in landfills, the environment suffers when you just throw it away. You could try to burn it, but the gas emissions can be dangerous. The best solution is to recycle it. You can send it to a recycling center or reuse it around your home. All you have to do is grind it up.

Things You'll Need

  • Old clothes
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Face mask
  • Wheel sander
  • Pumice stone (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Broom
  • Garbage bags
  • Vacuum

Clear the area where you will be grinding. The Styrofoam is bound to fly everywhere so make sure the room you are using is relatively empty. Do not grind Styrofoam outside; it could harm animals that eat it.

Put on old clothing. The Styrofoam will stick to you, so you don’t want to ruin good clothes. Put on protective gloves, as well as protective goggles and a face mask to avoid eye and lung injury.

Set a wheel sander to a lower setting. Wheel sanders are usually used to shape and grind wood; they’ll do the same thing to Styrofoam.

Hold Styrofoam cups, packaging and containers against the spinning sanding wheel. The Styrofoam will break up into small granules.

Use pumice stone or sandpaper if you don’t have a wheel sander. Simply rub the Styrofoam against the rough surface to break it up. This takes longer but the Styrofoam will fly around less, reducing the mess.

Sweep the Styrofoam granules into garbage bags. Take them to a recycling center or use them in potting soil to help with water drainage and aeration. You can even use it as insulation.

Vacuum the work area thoroughly. Also vacuum yourself, paying special attention your hair, shoes and the creases in your clothes.

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