Can I recycle polystyrene peanuts and containers?


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Styrofoam, also known as expanded polystyrene, is a type of plastic that can be injected, extruded or blow molded. It comes in different forms, from pellets to peanuts to food containers, all of which can be recycled through L.A.’s blue bin.

Styrofoam beads and peanuts must be put in plastic bags before being placed in the recycling bin because they are so light they will fly out of the bin when it’s lifted into the collection truck. The city recommends reuse as a first option for peanuts; many pack-and-ship companies accept the donation of clean and dry packing peanuts for reuse.


Styrofoam food containers need to be wiped clean and dried before being placed in the blue bin to prevent contamination of other recyclables.

Arcadia: Beads and peanuts, no. Food containers, yes, if clean

Burbank: No

Culver City: No

Glendale: No

Irvine: No

Long Beach: Beads and peanuts, no. Food containers, yes, if clean

Riverside: Yes

Santa Ana: No

Santa Monica: No

Torrance: Beads and peanuts, no. Food containers, yes, if clean

-- Susan Carpenter

Each week we explain the recycling potential for an item that might be confusing. Here are some previous Can I Recycle columns:

Store receipts?


Milk cartons?

Pizza boxes?

Post-it Notes?


Bottle caps?

Wine corks?

Ziploc bags