8 Ways To Reuse, Upcycle Polystyrene Packaging

June 17, 2022

It's an unfortunate fact that many delicate and/or fragile items delivered Australia-wide, are sent packaged in polystyrene blocks or sheets to help protect them in transit.

You'll have probably already seen video footage of couriers throwing your packages in the back of their trucks or "accidentally"dropping them - so you'll understand the need for the extra protection.

But don't worry, there are many ways you can reuse or even upcycle dreaded polystyrene packaging!

1. Reuse it for your own postal packaging
If you occasionally sell items on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook that are fragile such as vases or lamps, you'll want to ensure they arrive in one piece. Or when you send breakable gifts to loved ones who live intrastate, interstate or overseas. Simply cut the polystyrene sheets or block to shape and safely wrap your gift.

2. Use it for moving
One of the most dreaded tasks associated with moving house is wrapping glassware. Some wine companies send their bottles by the dozen in specially moulded polystyrene with 12 bottle-shaped holes. These are also perfect for accommodating your precious stemware in transit. Long, wide sheets of polystyrene help cushion your mirrors, prints and paintings. Those odd chunky pieces are ideal for filling loose corners in your packing boxes.

3. School projects
Have you ever been told at 9pm on a Monday night that your child needs to make a volcano to take to school for their science project the next day? Wondering what to make it with? Chunks of polystyrene, that's what, spraypainted to approximate Mount Etna. It's surprisingly sturdy and should make it through lunchtime, at least. 

4. Jewellery stall displays
If you or your family sells jewellery at craft stalls, polystyrene can be reused here, too. If you make earrings, for example, you can display them by piercing the fish hook, butterfly back or screw post through the sheet. Polystyrene blocks are perfect for displaying badges or brooches. Or why not wrap blocks to use as attractive risers to give differing heights to your display?

5. Pot plant drainage
If you have pots or planter boxes you move regularly in and out of the house, or in different parts of your garden, consider using polystyrene chunks in the bottom of your pot. It's much lighter than pebbles or gravel making the pot easier to move. Simply add your potting soil on top and plant your new tree.

6. Protect your walls
If you, or your adult children, rent, you'll know that many landlords aren't happy about having to repaint walls after the tenancy has ended. If you have multiple flat sheets of polystyrene, you can masking tape the sheets together and then cover the sheets in a favourite fabric, before you blu-tack it to the bedroom, living room or office wall. You can then safely pin or thumbtack photos, postcards, party invitations, inspo shots or mood board images to it without causing damage to the wall beneath.

7. Homemade Esky
Rather than lump a heavy Esky around in your boot, simply line your Coles or Woolworths shopping bag with several layers of polystyrene to protect your frozen and chiller cabinet groceries from thawing out. Polystyrene has great insulation properties - you've probably noticed many Eskies are made of polystyrene.

8. Craft projects
Polystyrene can be a rainy-day saviour for busy parents. Why not use a lettering stencil on a long sheet of polystyrene to cut out your child's name in large initials and let them paint and decorate it to their heart's content?

Those chunky geometric polystyrene pieces which cushion TVs and computers are fabulous for helping to approximate building models for your budding architecture student.

Medium-sized polystyrene balls make fabulous Christmas baubles. You can cover them in velvet, silk, satin, cotton, felt, hessian, ribbon, beads, glitter, sequins or feathers to make unique decorations.



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