McHenry County Schools Environmental Education Program

Expandable Polystyrene aka Styrofoam challenge

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Expanded Polystyrene WATCH OUT - you haven't seen our kids yet!

Styrofoam Challenge

What happens when you put a Styrofoam piece of "trash" in your curbside recycling bin?

The answer is that it heads over to the landfill. Unfortunately; the recycling symbol is a little misleading. YES, polystyrene #6 is recyclable. But in McHenry County waste haulers for a variety of logistic reasons do not recycle it. But when it is properly collected, densified and resold -the circle loop is closed. This year MCSEEP, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the McHenry County Department of Health are asking you to be part of closing that loop!

2014-15 Participants 

Deer Path Elementary

Bernotas MS

Marlowe MS

Duker Elementary

Collected 1950 pounds of  "densified" styrofoam

  • The week of Nov. 17-20, 2014 we came out to each school for a 20 minute presentation to students about how and why a collection drive is important.

  • We supplied them with: 
    • handout template to send home with families reminding them to collect their Styrofoam through the holiday season (think on-line shopping packages) 
    • boxes and bags for collection
    • Challenge ideas / lesson plans / STEM activities
  • They will collect January 5-15, 2015
  • With pick up on January 16, 2015


We can't wait to share with you how much styrofoam they kept out of the Illinois landfills! Great job taking on the challenge!!


Sign up for this or other MCSEEP projects

Want to create your own classroom challenge?  Use these pdfs guided by the STEM worksheet:

STEAM activities - READ FIRST


advertising our attitudes worksheet pack it in 

Polystyrene_Use calculation sheet

sanitary landfill worksheet

pack it in