Polystyrene Foam Collection

Organize a Polystyrene Foam Collection Day

Learn About Why Polystyrene is a Problem Issue

Step 1. Read resources from the Equinox Project: Guide for Polystyrene Reduction Policies and Recommendations for Reducing or Banning Foam Foods Service Containers. This resource Guide for Alternatives to Foam Food Containers may also be helpful. 

Another resource is What the Foam from Ocean Conservancy.

Watch the video to the left to learn why and how polystyrene foam is recycled. (Gilford, NH is mentioned in the video.)

Explore Options to Recycle Polystyrene Foam

Step 2. Read this article for more details and view this powerpoint How to Organize a Polystyrene Collection Event, which you can copy, download, and use.

Determine Facility and What to Collect

Step 3. Determine which facility is closest to you, and which types of foam to collect.  Some options for recycling polystyrene foam in New England include the Gilford Recycle Center (Gilford, NH), Gold Circuit (Palmer, MA) and Save That Stuff (Boston, MA). Some facilities may include fees to drop off material. Explore the Resources list below to read more.

Gilford is a hub for collecting foam in New Hampshire because they have a new densifier. More details can be found below.

Find Organization to Collaborate With

Step 4. Find an organization to collaborate with such as a Rotary Club, school environmental group, church, or solid waste facility. Sustainable Lebanon partnered with Lebanon Rotary and Ledyard Bank: PDF of their handout "Get Involved with Saving the Planet with Sustainable Lebanon!"  

Schedule Collection Date

Step 5. Select a date and location for the collection.

Arrange Transportation

Step 6. Arrange for transportation to one of the recycling locations. 


Step 7. Advertise in local papers, radio, TV, social media, listservs (sample press release from Lebanon, NH); news article about Lebanon collection.

Collect and Deliver Materials

Step 8. Collect the polystyrene foam and deliver materials to one of the recycling locations.

This photo carousel shows a portion of the amount of polystyrene that enthusiastic volunteers collected on April 16, 2022 in Lebanon, NH.

As part of the collection, share information about getting polystyrene and other plastics out of people's lives: Guide for Polystyrene Reduction Policies and/or Strategies to Get Plastic Out of Your Life. Also share other resources from our Zero Waste webpage.


Foam Recycling is Now Available - Town of Gilford Serving as HUB and Will Collect Loose Foam Material from General Public

The Town of Gilford has a new Foam Recycling Program that is open to the general public.  The vision for this program is a hub and spoke system.  Gilford is the HUB and will collect loose foam material from anyone.  The SPOKES are the public works facilities and rotary clubs who collect the foam.  Why should you consider this?  Because foam wastes space in your MSW trailers and removing it will make room for more MSW and heavier loads will be able to be shipped out, meaning you’ll save money in your hauling costs over the year.  Plus it won’t go in the landfills and residents want to recycle it but there was no way to do that before in New Hampshire. 

There are several ways this program works:

PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL WITH ANY QUESTIONS.  Reach out to discuss the options above and which one fits your community best.  You can forward this email right to your local Rotary Club (just google their email address) or your Selectboard if you want to gauge interest in starting a form of this program in your community.  Our community has been very excited about this and we are starting to schedule drop offs from other towns for collection events that they are holding.  Excited to see where we are in a year from now and how much foam we have collected.  To date we have 1.5 tons of densified foam (aka “ingots”). 


For more information, contact Meghan Theriault, P.E., Director of Public Works, Gilford Public Works / 55 Cherry Valley Road / Gilford, NH 03249.  Direct: (603) 527-4783 / Cell: (603) 365-6160

Foam Recycling in the News