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Go Green!

We have compiled a short list of helpful and handy recycling ideas for any extra styrofoam coolers you may have. Here are a few of our suggestions:

1) Do you have kids or grandkids? What about using the chest like fake snowblocks and building an igloo playhouse by using glue to attach them together in the right shape. 

MH900293224 resized 6002) You can use the coolers to store holiday decorations.

3) The Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts in your area might be interested in some of them to use on camping trips as individual lunchbox coolers. Daycares or kindergarten classes might also be interested in them for dramatic play centers, props, etc.

4)You could also use them as forms for hypertufa planters. Hypertufa is just a large word for fake rock looking cement. If you Google it, there are many recipes out there and succulents LOVE to grow in this stuff.

5) Do you have outdoor pets? Styrofoam coolers make great houses for your cats in the cold winter months. Simply line with hay and they'll have the purrr-fect new home.

6) Do you enjoy fishing? Coolers can make excellent containers to keep your bait in for fishing. Night crawlers are lively and happy in coolers among some bedding and old leaves. The bedding can also be purchased.  Some people even collect and sell the earthworms that are stored in the coolers.

7) You might contact your local Meals on Wheels and see if they could use them.

8) Make your own shipping pellets to ship some fragile things.

If none of these suggestions would work for you, here is a list of styrofoam recyclers in your area. Unfortunately, the carbon footprint for picking up a single cooler and mailing it to our rural Missouri office usually outweighs any environmental benefit- especially since the coolers are often damaged during transit. Still, if this is your best option, you may mail the cooler to our PO Box (postal service) or physical street address (FedEX/UPS) listed below:

US Wellness Meats

PO Box 9 / 204 E Lafayette

Monticello, MO 63457

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Comments

Our local meat market does not sell grass fed or organic beef. But he will take the coolers and use them to ship product.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 24, 2012 7:08 PM by Jeanne Peet
1. Use one or two coolers as a chairside, bedside or couchside table. Tape two together, if necessary. Cover it with an attractive textile, and you have a sturdy surface for informal decor, such as a college room.  
 
2. Keep one in your car. When you go food shopping by car, you can put perishable items in it in warm weather, with a cold-pack or some ice.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:23 AM by Suzanne Hoover
Use it for making your own worm beds. The worms can be transferred into the garden and the compost is wonderful for not only your garden, but potted house plants as well.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:00 AM by Nicole Harms
Join a Freecycle Gr
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:08 AM by April
Excellent ideas, I like to use mine like a lunch box. A big, unwieldy lunchbox for bringing in my US Wellness meal leftovers :)
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:04 AM by Kent Cowgill
Use the whole container as a birdhouse or use the lid as a bird feeder.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:33 AM by Jovan B.
Uses for styro coolers: 
 
 
 
-use as storage container in the car or garage for camping/outdoor gear and then it can double as the cooler when empty at camp/outdoor site. 
 
 
 
-use in car as an emergency safety kit; jumper cables, knife, flash light, nonperishable food, etc. 
 
 
 
-would be great to use on canoe/kayak trips as a waterproof/floatable storage option as well as cooler. 
 
 
 
-going to hold on to them until it gets warm out here as I know I'll accumulate quite a few by then and then give some to friends and family for them to use in their vehicles or whatever. 
 
 
 
-could also probably get creative and build a pretty cool fort or small house for children (or adult children) in the backyard ;)
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:05 PM by Melanie Dyer
We live in the warm South, so we always keep at least one in each car for frozen or chilled groceries, and they serve as a handy container for the reusable bags that we take in to the store. 
 
We also keep a couple in our storage area so we can keep our frozen food frozen as we defrost our freezer. 
 
We also cut up a cooler to fit into a small briefcase and around our portable recording studio to keep it safe during weekly transport.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:37 PM by Kayla
Use them for planters. Poke holes so the water can drain and then add potting soil and plant anything from herbs to peas.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:36 AM by Cindy B
Use them for toy bins. They are great for holding children's Legos, blocks or other small toys! This could easily put several of them to use. Then, when you have enough, share them with your local 'Mom's group' for those that would like to use them for the same purpose!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:47 AM by Patty H.
Use as a cubby in your mud room for kids to throw their snowy hats and mittens.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:51 AM by Patty H.
Have an Art Day with your children and have them each decorate one for their own special 'Treasure' box. They can then place it in their room for their very special things.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:53 AM by Patty H.
Offer them to you local Day Care center or Children's Sunday School. They always need storage options for supplies!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:55 AM by Patty H.
I am going to accumulate 9 for myself to make a cube shelving unit. Cube shelving is so popular now. I will attach 3 horizontally and 3 vertically, so that I have 9 cubes all stuck together. Then I will attach them to a thin sheet of plywood or similar and fix to the wall in my sewing studio.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 3:04 AM by Patty H.
Use them to story away your summer flip flops!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 3:06 AM by Patty H.
Use them to store your beach toys. You can even carry it to the beach. This way, when you leave the beach, the sand is contained!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 3:08 AM by Patty H.
You can break up the styrofoam in pieces and put it in the bottoms of a large planter, so that you don't have to add as much soil when you're planting, and the pot is not as heavy when you have to move it.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 3:12 AM by Ariana
Cut the coolers up into panels and then use the panels as insulation "boards" (or pieces) to fill in gaps or as insulation in the wall of a dog house.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 4:10 AM by Cheri
We turned one into an incubator and have three emu eggs developing right now. We're looking at a March 3rd hatch date. All you need to make a decent incubator is lightbulb, wire and hot water thermostat. We cut a hole in the top and added a plexiglass window and a aluminum cooking tray at the bottom. We'll set chicken eggs in the spring. Sanitation is very important so after a flew hatches we will start over with a new box.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:28 AM by Charles Dockter
I have two in the back of my station wagon with all of my reusable grocery bags. Once we hit the really hot temps in Atlanta, they will work much better than the insulated cold bags I used to use.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:47 AM by Donna Thompson
I have another local vendor I buy food from and I give the coolers to them for anyone they want to send their product to.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 8:03 AM by Adele Cooper
I give mine to the local farmers I get my raw milk and eggs from. They deliver weekly to all of their herdshare members, leaving the milk and eggs in coolers with ice packs on people's front porches, so they can always use additional coolers.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 8:15 AM by Kristin
Love the planter idea!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 8:58 AM by Marisa
I like to use them to store fragile items in my garage. I also use one as a backup cooler and also used it for a planter box for herbs. So many uses.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:16 AM by Paula Perkins
being a surfer, i'm always thinking of the water: but that being said there's a company out here in california, marko foam http://www.markofoamblanks.com/ that manufactures and sells foam surfboard blanks (the cores that surfboards are made out of) and if you have left over packing styrafoam laying around you can take i to them and they will make it into a surfoard blankthat you could then make into a surfboard (if you're into that sort of thing...) styrafoam (polypropelene) is the most recyclable/reusable type of foam out there and the easiest to melt down and reform into another useful product, that i know of) but i don't know nothin'
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:24 AM by mark bouvier
I use them for extra cooler space when going on a road trip. Extras go to the farmers market as usually one of the vendors can use one or two. 
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:27 AM by Joyce Kasper
I keep one in the back of my car to put my glass milk bottles and glass yogurt jars as I empty them (keeps them off the kitchen counter). Then they are there and ready when I go to the dairy farm where I get my raw dairy products from. It's especially handy in the summer to keep the dairy products cool if I have other errands to run.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:34 AM by Diane
Use them if you are moving! Cut up the foam for packing peanuts or use it as a fragile box for glasses or anything else that needs extra care during moving.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:43 AM by coco plum
My husband and I travel a lot in he car and we all know as paleo eaters we need to be prepared with lots of healthy food that might need to be refridgarated, so I use the coolers! Thanks US Wellness Meats !!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 10:11 AM by Kaylie Watson
We keep the wonderful styrofoam coolers and re-use them as a sturdy base to raise up and stack canned goods, laundry detergents and other heavy items on them. This way, all important perishables are kept off the cellar floor, especially if you might have a leaky cellar.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:05 AM by Jayna
Had a family gathering and everyone brought their favorite dish. Left overs were placed in the coolers to take home. No spilled nor spoiled food going home.(thrilled with the cooler)
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:49 AM by Geri
The styrofoam coolers can be used as a root cellar for wintering over such root vegetables as carrots. Just layer unwashed carrots and sand and store in your basement.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:10 PM by Claire
Thank you for this! I haven't been able to figure out anything to do with mine.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:13 PM by Soli @ I Believe in Butter
The homeless may want something to keep food cool in...
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:17 PM by Marisa
Schools, Universities, Shipping Companies, Pharmaceutical Companies and Hospitals are a few places that come to mind that use coolers like these to transport "stuff" around.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:53 PM by Tim Murphy
A great list of ideas! I was wondering what I could do with them and now I know. Thanks!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 1:19 PM by Leah R
You can use them to bring home goodies from your local farmer's market.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 1:56 PM by Veronica
Great ideas! I use them for several of the ideas listed here, mostly for transporting cold/frozen food from the markets to home (SE Texas). I also use them to transport hot, cooked meals to needy families; the cooler helps to keep the meal fresh and hot after travel time, which can be up to an hour or so.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:45 PM by Karen
I use to work at the science museum and we would have a huge storage room of odd things - esp. boxes, Styrofoam, bottle caps, etc... Then during science classes - the kids would use these things on different kinds of science experiments, projects, etc... See if your local science museum takes donations!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 4:56 PM by Song
I have been using mine as coolers, but after reading all these comments, I now have lots of new ways to use them.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 5:05 PM by Dan
I keep mine in their cardboard box to keep them clean until I need them and I store them in the attic. When I have enough it will be added insulation (I live in the North.) My children have used them for ice at their lemonade stand. I've sent them home with friends when they needed a cooler in the summer. (I always tell them to bring it back if they will not be using it.) I sent a gift with frozen desserts to my brother across the continent one Christmas.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:23 PM by Deb
I use mine for storage in the trunk of my car. Nice to have a safe spot to keep things from rolling around.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:41 PM by rp
These are about 50-50 between things we have already done and ideas that we thought of but haven't tried yet. The new one (about 9 of them for craft storage) is the best new idea! Thanks. I'll come back if I think of any more.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 8:23 PM by Mary Ascher
I don't like keeping paint and such in the house but don't want it to ruin in extreme weather. So I put it in cooler and store in outdoor shed.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 8:50 PM by Edna
i also use as a cooler in the trunk of all 4 of our cars. i like the idea as toy boxes, herb planters, etc. but, if i put them anywhere near our dogs they would tear them into a million pieces! :)
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:02 PM by susan
You could use it for transporting meals to potlucks, elderly folks that are shut-in, or to hold cold drinks in for camping!
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:55 PM by Marie
I use mine for road trips to pack drinks and sandwiches in. To take dishes that need to stay cold or warm to potlucks. They are good to keep in the car for frozen items from the store during summer. I also use them to store bird seed and potting soil in in my garage. My daughter loves to stack them and then pretend she is a bowling ball and knock them down. They work great for storing my craft supplies in and stacking in the closet.
Posted @ Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:41 PM by Chase
Having four kids 4 and under we had one- painted it and now store our play doh and play doh toys in it--On rainy days we take it out and have a "pretend in house" play doh BBQ molding grassfed burgers & corn on the cob
Posted @ Monday, January 30, 2012 11:40 AM by melissa
This isn't a super creative idea or anything, but I found my leftover containers very useful when I moved recently. They allowed me to save the food that I hadn't used up... Frozen in one, refrigerated in the other! Withstood the 4 or 5 hours in transit just fine, and saved me some money.
Posted @ Monday, January 30, 2012 11:54 AM by Amy
I live in a rural area and I think they would make great water troughs for the feral cats and deer during the hot weather.
Posted @ Monday, January 30, 2012 3:47 PM by Jean
Give to your favorite fisherman! I also like the freecycle idea.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:59 AM by Jennifer
Rec. League baseball is right around the corner. It will hold Capri Suns, packed with ice, for the snacks after the game.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:41 PM by Robert Sharpe
Great ideas. I use my styrofoam coolers as 'tables' under my planters in my container garden. I am tall, so I don't really want to bend down too far to check on my plants. So I just put my plants on top of the coolers- the plants are happy because they are elevated off the ground & I am happy because I do not have to bend down so low to check on them.
Posted @ Thursday, March 15, 2012 8:56 PM by Anna
Thank you for sharing all the wonderful suggestions! Our customers have shared a few more ideas with us recently that we would like to pass along: 
 
I just found a website which gives you a list of recycling locations that accept styrofoam coolers. I'm mailing mine to them for $5.75. 
 
http://www.epspackaging.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8&Itemid=4 
 
And from another customer: 
I wrote a while back searching for place to get rid of all my styrofoam coolers. Here's the place in RI which I have found. You might want to post on your website: http://www.kwd.us/irp.htm 
 
 
They say that they are the biggest recyclers of styrofoam in the Northeast. 
 
We hope this helps with a few new resources. Please feel free to keep adding any new ideas or links. And again, we are grateful for the support of our blog community!
Posted @ Thursday, July 26, 2012 3:08 PM by US Wellness Meats
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