Whether you sleep on a memory foam mattress or work within the construction and manufacturing industry, you probably use foam products more than you realise. As a business owner, you must take the necessary steps to safely and securely dispose of any foam products to minimise their environmental impact.
Learn what foam is recyclable, how to sustainably get rid of it from your business and arrange collection of foam you no longer need with Business Waste.
Get your foam waste collected
Get a fast FREE quote for foam waste removal
- Free quote within 1 hr
- Any type of foam waste
- FREE bins and delivery
- We cover all of the UK
Foam waste is simply any product made completely or mostly from foam that’s used, damaged, or just no longer needed. Foam is a material made from low density elastomers, plastics, and other materials – so it classes as a type of plastic waste. It’s created as small bubbles form on or in liquid.
Your business may encounter foam waste through everything from using polystyrene cups in the kitchen to having offcuts of insulation from a construction project. There are many different types of foam and each one contains slightly different materials. This means the appropriate way to dispose of waste foam can depend on its type.
There are many different types of foam you may encounter running your business. However, the most popular types of foam you might need to recycle include:
- Memory foam – Memory foam is mainly used in the construction of mattresses, pillows, and padding. As a result, most memory foam waste accumulates within the hospitality industryat hotels and B&Bs. Memory foam is made from low-resistance polyurethane and contains a series of open foam bubbles that allow air to move through the foam.
- Polystyrene foam – Polystyrene comes in two forms. Rigid polystyrene is used for products such as CD and DVD cases, while foamed/expanded polystyrene is used to create packaging materials and products such as cups and takeaway containers. Polystyrene foam is made from hydrocarbon polymers.
- Styrofoam – Styrofoam is a commercial brand of polystyrene. However, it’s more typically used within the construction industry because it’s 98% air and therefore particularly buoyant and lightweight. It’s often used for building and pipe insulation.
- Expanding foam – Expanding foam is also often used within the construction industry or to carry out home repairs. It’s typically used to fill gaps or cavities in walls. Expanding foam is made from polyurethane and creates a long-lasting seal.
- Pink foam insulation – Pink foam is mainly used within the construction industry as a form of insulation.
foam waste disposal?
As there are different types of foam, many businesses use it in their daily operations – sometimes without realising. These range from mattresses to insulation and many other items. When such materials and products come to the end of their life you need to recycle or reuse them where possible.
Some of the main businesses and industries that need foam waste disposal include:
- Airports – waste polystyrene cups and packaging materials
- Care homes – used and damaged memory foam mattresses
- Construction – leftover expanding foam to fill gaps and pink foam insulation
- Hotels – memory foam mattresses at the end of life
- Takeaways – damaged and used takeaway containers and food packaging
How does waste
foam collection work?
Select your free bins
It’s quick and easy to organise commercial waste collection for your business.
Simply start by telling us the:
- Type of waste you need removing
- Size of bins you require
- Number of bins you want
We’ll provide you with a free quote.
When you’re happy with the type, number, and size of free bins, tell us when you need your bins delivering.
Let us know about any access issues where you want the bins delivering – such as locked gates, access codes and times. We’ll get you up and running in no time.
Fill up your bin
After the free bins arrive at your chosen location, fill them up with the agreed waste type.
Make sure you remain within any weight limits for the specific waste type and bin size.
Get your business waste collected
We’ll arrange waste collection at a time and frequency to suit you and the amount of waste you have.
As featured in…
How to dispose
of foam waste
As there are different types of foam, it’s important you know how to dispose of each one appropriately after use. Businesses’ waste management and disposal plans must align with government legislation. There are no specific regulations that cover the disposal of foam waste, but it does fall under the umbrella of other regulations – such as the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
This means you have a duty of care to ensure all waste you produce – including waste foam – is disposed of in a safe, legal, and environmentally friendly manner. At Business Waste, we can ensure that your waste disposal is carried out in accordance with all regulations – giving you great peace of mind.
Arrange delivery of free bins with Business Waste to fill with your foam waste. Then organise and pay for collection and we’ll transport them to a nearby recycling facility for sorting and disposal in an eco-friendly way – diverting as much as possible away from landfill. There’s no other preparation as it’ll be cleaned, sorted, and treated at the facility if needed.
Reusing damaged or unneeded foam items is another easy and green way to dispose of any waste foam your business produces. Donating old mattresses to charity is one way to get rid of them without harming the environment. There are various other alternative uses for scrap foam, such as:
- Reuse packing peanuts/Styrofoam to protect items during transit. For example, if you’re moving office or house, you can store fragile items such as cups, glasses, and plates inside Styrofoam to reduce the chances of them breaking.
- Add small scraps of Styrofoam to coolers instead of ice, helping to keep your food and drinks cold on a warm day.
- Use Styrofoam to create lightweight yet realistic-looking props for theatre productions and movies. Consider donating to your local theatre company.
- Create a composter for your home or workplace with used Styrofoam.
Recycling foam avoids it going to landfill where, depending on its type, it can degrade slowly and release chemicals that pollute nearby water, ground, and air. After collecting your waste and transporting to an appropriate facility for foam recycling in the UK, it’ll be sorted. How foam is recycled then depends on its type.
- Memory foam – The easiest way to recycle a memory foam product is to donate to a charity or sell it for reuse elsewhere. However, when taken to an appropriate recycling facility, the materials are shredded and turned into new products. For example, recycled foam from mattresses is sometimes used to create underlay for carpets.
- Polystyrene foam and Styrofoam – Expanded polystyrene and Styrofoam products are made with 98% air, which means they only contain around 2% plastic. As a result, it’s entirely recyclable. However, the products can only be recycled using expensive and complex machinery. Not every council collects these products, but Business Waste can.
- Expanding foam – Expanded foam products can be recycled at an appropriate facility where they can be repurposed and given a second life. As most expanding foam products are sold as aerosols, you should also ensure the container is correctly disposed of. Check it’s empty and not damaged, scratched, or pierced in any way, then send to recycling with the rest of your metal waste.
- Pink foam insulation –When you no longer need foam insulation, first try to donate or find alternative uses for it. This gives the products a second life without relying on landfill sites. Otherwise, arrange for your foam waste to be collected by a licensed carrier, such as Business Waste. Then it’ll be recycled through various methods, such as closed-loop recycling or chemical recycling.
Arrange collection of your foam waste with Business Waste, wherever your company is based in the UK with our nationwide foam recycling services. Whatever type of foam you need to get rid of and however much, we’ll find a solution for you.
We’ll provide you with free bins to fill with your waste foam – you just pay for collection. Throw in your foam waste within the bin’s weight limits to avoid any overweight charges, then leave in an agreed and accessible pickup point ahead of collection.
There are options from standard two-wheel to larger four-wheel bins suited to mattresses and lots of foam for recycling. You can arrange collection on a one off, daily, weekly, or fortnightly schedule – depending on how much foam waste your business produces.
Call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online to discuss commercial foam waste collection. One of our friendly, expert team can advise on the type, size, and number of bins you may need, and answer any other questions you may have about getting rid of your old or damaged foam types.
Is foam recyclable?
It depends on the type of foam. There are different types of foam and many can be recycled into new materials and products when disposed of properly. However, you can’t simply put it in a recycling bin. Foam waste needs separating and sending to an appropriate recycling facility where it’s sorted and any recyclable foam will be processed.
This usually involves separating any recyclable elements – such as metals, plastics, and paper – for recycling individually. Then the foam elements may be shredded for use as packaging or other products.
What are the downsides of disposing of Styrofoam in landfill?
The main downside to disposing Styrofoam products in landfill is that they don’t easily biodegrade. It’s estimated Styrofoam can take anywhere between five and 1000 years to degrade naturally. During this time, they take up a great deal of finite space at landfill sites, which are already overcrowded.
As the Styrofoam breaks down, small pieces of the material could be caught by the wind. This may result in Styrofoam ending up in lakes or other bodies of water – further polluting the ocean.
What happens if you burn Styrofoam?
For a long time, businesses would incinerate certain items as a form of waste disposal. However, burning polystyrene and Styrofoam is incredibly dangerous. They release a variety of toxic chemicals such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide negatively impacts the planet, the earth’s atmosphere and even poses a threat to human health.
How can my business reduce foam waste?
Recycling foam is important, but the difficulty of recycling certain products means business owners should be on the lookout for ways to reduce the amount of foam waste they produce. You can try and reduce your foam waste by:
- Sourcing eco-friendly alternatives to foam products. For example, you could ditch Styrofoam cups and replace them with paper coffee cups.
- Donating or reselling foam waste products like memory foam mattresses, before trying to dispose of them.
- Ensuring every member of your team is aware of foam products that are recyclable, so they’re not accidentally thrown away alongside your general waste.
- Avoiding purchasing more products than you need by managing your stock carefully.
Is memory foam biodegradable?
In the UK alone, around 67,000 tonnes of mattresses are sent to a landfill each year. Many of these are made from memory foam or similar materials. While studies suggest they break down slightly over time due to long-term exposure to sunlight, they are not biodegradable.
As a result, they contribute heavily to the overcrowding of landfills and global warming. For this reason, you should either donate, sell, or recycle old memory foam mattresses to avoid it ending up in landfill.
Get a free foam waste collection quote
Get a fast FREE quote for foam waste collection
- Free quote within 1 hr
- Any type of waste foam
- FREE bins and delivery
- We cover all of the UK