Houseplants · Problems

Recycling Polystyrene

The other day when the winds were quite bad I picked up a piece of polystyrene out of the garden that had been blown out of next doors bin. I was going to put it in mine but then I thought “There must be a way for me to recycle this into something”.

Now, I have been looking to get some perlite, but its bloody expensive for the small amounts you get. Now, before we go any further I know that polystyrene is not a perfect replacement to perlite but it is a good step up from using just soil. So on we trot.

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The block you can see above is the one I brought in. Nothing special at all. The first thing I did was to roughly break it up by hand and give the bits a quick rinse off. If you are going to do this with your own pieces of packing foam then you may also want to either discard any bits with strange stains or cut the stained bits out before breaking it up. You don’t know what the stains are and it’s always better to be safe than sorry if they are going in with your plants!

Next I popped the bits into a blender we have. Note here that you may need to break the bits down a bit more to make them fit. Mine were broken to about a inch and a half or so when putting them in.

Fill the blender to about half way with water (VERY IMPORTANT!) and pop the lid on… Not that I nearly didn’t do that the first time or anything. B-)
Turn the blender on, it should only take about 10 seconds to break it up. I found putting it on ‘pulse’ was better than simply turning it ‘ON’. If you find that the pieces don’t start breaking up then you may need to initially break them into smaller pieces. The sizes will depend on how bit your blender is.

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Once the pieces are broken up simply tip them into a sieve. If you want you can catch the water dropping through and reuse it. Simply tip it back into the blender and add in more pieces…. Rinse and repeat…Erm…Literally! B-D

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Eventually you should have a sieve looking like this. The only issue I seem to have now is that the beads are wet. The water does seem to be dropping through but it may take time to dry out.

But that’s it. I managed to take a ploystyrene block and reduce it to something I could use, Woohoo!

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4 thoughts on “Recycling Polystyrene

  1. What a fabulous idea! Now I know what to do with all the inevitable packaging that will no doubt come with my Little Man’s Christmas Presents. Great tip and perfectly timed too!! Thank you!!

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