Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam is a lightweight, plastic material commonly known as Styrofoam, used to make food containers, meat trays, take-out containers, cups and plates. Styrofoam is also widely used as packaging to protect a variety of items such as appliances, household electronics, and furniture.
Since 2002, the City of Markham has been accepting clean, loose Styrofoam cushion packaging and food containers at our recycling depots, giving residents the opportunity to keep this material out of landfill and ensure it is properly recycled into new products.
Styrofoam Packaging Ban
Styrofoam is very dangerous to wildlife, birds and humans and creates harmful pollution. In 2020, Markham banned Styrofoam packaging at the curb to help further keep it out of landfill, streets and our waterways. The curbside collection ban does not include Styrofoam food containers; those soiled items can still go in clear bag garbage. Do not put in the blue box or green bin.
Drop off at any Markham Recycling Depot
Accepted: Styrofoam cushion packaging and Styrofoam food containers
Material must be clean and loose;
Remove any labels, tape and cardboard before dropping off;
Food containers must be free of any food and liquids.
Clean Styrofoam packaging and food containers are collected from all recycling depot locations and delivered to a local Polydensifier processor.
Styrofoam packaging and food containers (ratio 2:1) are put through a densification system that compresses the material to remove the air and reduce the volume to create compact bricks. Densified, stackable bricks are a cost-efficient method of transport, as less trucks are required.
Styrofoam recycling companies take the densified foam bricks and turn them into a plastic resin that look like small pellets or beads.
The pellets are then used in the manufacturing of a variety of products including picture frames, crown moulding and benches.
TAKING THE LEAD - Markham Targets Single-Use Plastics
Markham's Diversion Strategy: 2020-2023 will implement strategies and programs designed to work towards a target of 85% municipal waste diversion.
Single-use items are often made of hard-to-recycle plastics, typically used once and thrown away; they have limited reuse or compost options. Additionally, many of them end up as litter on our roads, parks, trails and creeks.
Most common single-use items include coffee pods, Styrofoam packaging/takeout containers, takeout cups and lids, plastic bags, plastic cutlery, plastic straws and stir sticks.