Foam Equipment's Blog

How much scrap foam do I have?

Posted by Phil Plotts

Jun 10, 2010 3:49:00 PM

One of the problems many people have when considering a compactor or densifier for scrap foam plastics is how much foam do they really have?  Since packaging foam is very lightweight and can be very bulky, what appears to be a large quantity may not be so much after all.  Typical polystyrene foam packaging and insulation is usually in the density range of 1 to 2 pound per cubic foot.  What this means is if you have a 12 inch x 12 inch x 12 inch cube of solid foam, it would weigh between 1 and 2 pounds.  Since most packaging foam is not used in a solid block form but is molded into relatively thin designs to protect the product, several cubic feet of polystyrene or polyethylene packaging foam may be required to equal a pound of foam.

Here are a few guidelines for estimating the weight of uncompressed EPS or EPE foam pieces.  (This excludes stacked sheet foam and block foam)

  1. A 53' trailer load will weigh 1500 - 2000 pounds
  2. A 20 yard roll-off dumpster containing only EPS foam will hold 200 - 300 pounds of EPS
  3. A 12 foot square mound of foam packaging piled 8 feet high will weight about 100 - 150 pounds of EPS

Are you still unsure of your weekly or monthly EPS waste volume? We are happy to give you a hand.  Give us a call at 314-427-4395 or email at

FYI:  Styrofoam is a registered trademark for the Dow Chemical brand of extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). It is usually blue in color and made in the form of a sheet.   Expandable polystyrene (EPS) is a bead type foam which can be molded into shapes, blocks, and sheets.  It is typically white in color but can be died to any color.  EPS is frequently but erroneously referred to a Styrofoam.

Topics: styrofoam, compactor, densifier, styrofoam recycling, expandable polystyrene, polyethylene foam, scrap foam