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What to do with Styrofoam? One Idea…

Scraps of styrofoam, acquired over a year or so…

Expanded PolyStyrene, EPS, aka styrofoam. I have a pile of it. The stuff gradually accumulates from the packaging of things I buy. It’s so persistent in the environment that I don’t want to throw it away; so it piles up.

In some places styrofoam can be sold. However, household quantities aren’t usually enough to sell. Sometimes it can be re-used for packaging, but it’s often just thrown away. Estimates are that 30% of the volume in landfills is styrofoam.

But – instead of tossing styrofoam, some people use it for art! Brilliantly!

One way to make use of styrofoam is as a base for mosaics. This keeps it out of the environment for the long-term, and is a lightweight, stable, inexpensive, versatile & readily available material.

Pre-formed EPS is available in shapes that are rigid enough to provide a good mosaic base.

Mosaic on styrofoam head
Tree, Cubed; mosaic over styrofoam cube; 2020 Denise Salmon

People who aren’t put off by the texture or sound of styrofoam (it’s a real thing – a condition called ‘styrophobia’!) can cut and glue it into fanciful shapes before applying mosaic finishes. The work of Zsófia Keresztes is a great example.

We’re exploring some other surprising uses for this material in various projects; reports will be forthcoming in future posts. In the meantime, make friends with that stash of styrofoam; turn it into a thing of beauty!

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