Styrofoam Not Recyclable at Waste Connections Memphis

Are Styrofoam cups, plates, and bowls recyclable? Not in this market, so please place Styrofoam items in the trash cart.

Summertime barbecues and entertaining result in an increased use of expanded polystyrene products commonly known as Styrofoam cups, plates, and bowls. 

Waste Connections of Tennessee, Memphis, reminds customers that Styrofoam products are not recyclable in this market and placing them in the recycling bin creates more work and risk for Waste Connections recycling center employees.

While single stream recycling is convenient, efficient, and hassle free for our residential customers, items that can be recycled are limited to:

  • Items that have a recycling market or buyer in the region; and,
  • Items that, when comingled, can be sorted by the recycling equipment.

Items that can’t be recycled either don’t have a buyer, are too small for the equipment to properly sort, or get tangled in the machinery and create a hazard for employees. The bottom line, we ask our residential and commercial customers to review our allowable recyclables to ensure the continuation of a safe and efficient recycling program. Our recycling information can be found here.

Because there is no local recycling market for single use Styrofoam products, Waste Connections encourages customers to reduce their use by purchasing similar items made of paper which, while not recyclable, breaks down much faster in the landfill.

Some common items that can be purchased as paper products include:

  • Egg cartons
  • Drink cups
  • Bowls
  • Plates

The word “Styrofoam” is a Dow Chemical trademark name and has become the household word for the convenient and affordable single-use plates, cups and other items that make cleanup a snap. But this year, we remind our recycling customers that paper products would be an environmentally-friendly alternative to Styrofoam and, if you do have Styrofoam items, please don’t place it in the single-stream recycling container, put it in the garbage at your curbside.

Other Styrofoam items you may also have in your home include:

  • Packing pellets
  • Trays found under packaged meat products
  • Old coolers
  • Food to go containers

Waste Connections, Inc. is an integrated solid waste services company that provides waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services in mostly exclusive and secondary markets in the U.S. and Canada. Waste Connections serves more than 6 million residential, commercial, industrial, and exploration and production customers from a network of operations in 39 states, six provinces and the District of Columbia. The Company also provides intermodal services for the movement of cargo and solid waste containers in the Pacific Northwest.


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