Recycling: Long Beach adds Styrofoam to list of Recyclables

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styrofoam-recyclingClean Polystyrene (Styrofoam) is now recyclable through the Long Beach residential recycling program.

Polystyrene comes in two forms. Solid polystyrene is used in items such as disposable cutlery, plastic models, yogurt cups, fast food containers as well as CD and DVD cases. Some of these items labeled #6, were already being collected by Long Beach recycling which accepts plastic numbers #1 through #7.

The other form, foamed polystyrene (Styrofoam), is most often used for packing materials, insulation, drink cups and other packaging. Residents can now place the following items in the purple recycling cart:

  • Styrofoam cups and containers
  • Packaging, such as Styrofoam eggshell cartons and block packing
  • Styrofoam clamshell packaging

Styrofoam packaging peanuts are not recyclable, but they are reusable. Many mailing and packaging stores, including The UPS Store Etc. and FedEx Office welcome donations of clean packaging peanuts.

How well do you know what can be recycled in Long Beach? Here are a few items that can’t be recycled, which you may find surprising.

Batteries are not recyclable. Batteries, light bulbs, electronic and any device that contains mercury all fall into the hazardous materials category. By California law, these items may not be placed in the regular trash either. To dispose of properly, drop off your hazardous or e-waste at one of these collection centers. The alternative is a nickel-cadmium reusable battery. Not only are they rechargeable, but they can also be recycled at the end of their life.

Glassware and ceramics cannot be recycled. Although we all know to put our glass bottles in the recycle bin, glassware — such as drinking glasses, pyrex, or window panes — melts at a different temperature and can’t be mixed with the other recyclables. If not broken, donate your glassware to a charity organization. Unfortunately, broken glass is headed for the landfill.

The City’s Environmental Services Bureau has lots of information about recycling on their website. Visit them online at

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