Styrofoam is nasty business, ecologically speaking. However, it is cheap and provides insulation, so many restaurants continue to use it for their take out and delivery foods. If you're a conscientious recycler who cares about the environment, that can put you in a difficult situation. Most recycling centers don't accept it. There are places you can send it to recycle it, but it has to be in bulk and you have to pay for the shipping. If you don't have the space to store it till it is a large enough quantity or the extra funds to ship it off once it is, here are a couple of alternative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle the styrofoam so that it doesn't end up in the landfill.
Polymer clay glaze
If you are creating beads or other polymer clay items with a flat surface, styrofoam can be used as an alternative to painted glazes. Once your beads are made and ready for baking, place the clay pieces on a piece of aluminum foil. Then either cut the styrofoam container into small pieces and lay the pieces over the beads individually or place the whole of the container so it lays flat against the top of polymer clay. Allow the foam to sit on the clay overnight. The next morning, the polymers should have reacted with each other and where the foam once was will be a shiny coating. Bake according to package directions, but check the pieces every few minutes to make sure they are not overheating.
Insulation for a repurposed handbag
This project allows you to recycle three things at once. Most women have at least one old handbag that has seen better days. Perhaps it is no longer fashionable or age-appropriate, but you can't bear to throw it out for sentimental reasons. Why not use the purse, a shower curtain liner you've just replaced and some chopped up take out containers to make a cold storage bag instead? Remove the purse's existing lining and use it as a pattern to cut out a piece of the shower curtain. Next glue a thick layer of the styrofoam pieces all around the inside the purse for insulation and sew the lining in place on top.