Our team craft bean bags to last a lifetime, however when it comes to old furniture and bean bag disposal, we hope these tips help.
So how to you safely dispose of a bean bag and it’s filling? Common bean bag filling, expanded polystyrene (EPS) can actually be recycled by separately containing the small beans in a clear plastic bag for your recycling bin.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) was thought to be un-recyclable by most, however this is not the case.
The issue is, that as bean bag filling is so small, it often is mixed up with general waste and classed as “contaminated” very easily.
This is due to the small beans not being all contained together and mixed up with everything else.
Therefore, if you can pack the EPS (bean bag filling) all together in a clear bag, you will be fine.
Employees at your local recycling centre will be able to spot the polystyrene and process it along with other larger pieces of the same material.
To read more about this process please click here.
Why Bean Filling is Better Than Other Materials
The great news is that EPS is actually used in many more applications and is a better product to recycle than many others.
The common polystyrene balls used as bean filling can be recycled during every part of their life cycle.
Unlike certain alloys or plastics, you can reuse all “cut-offs” of EPS and melt it down to be used again.
This includes pieces of EPS which have been in use for years. Broken up or not, it doesn’t change the composition of the material.
EPS as mentioned above is 98% made up of air, so adding a compound to turn the base oil into liquid (which EPS is made from) is very simple.
Once the EPS changes form it can be used again and again. Making the base product very sustainable.
How To Reuse Bean Bag Filling
The great news is Bean Bag filling can be used for a huge range of applications.
And I will share them below:
1. Using the filling in your garden or planter pots.
The small beans we are afraid of getting everywhere are relatively inexpensive and work wonders for allowing water to drain.
This means they work very well at the bottom of any planter pot or at the base of a garden bed.
Preventing rot and allowing the soil to aerate.
It also means you don’t need to spend extra money to fill in your garden beds and planters. As mentioned EPS is relatively inexpensive.
(Especially if you are getting it from old source like an aging bean bag).
Not to mention, it makes moving planter boxes from place to place a lot easier. Since EPS is a lot lighter than any dirt mix.
2. Purchase a new bean bag and use the same filling.
This seems like an obvious plug, but if you loved your bean bag and don’t know what to do with the filling this could be the answer.
We hand make all our bean bags to last a lifetime. This means if you buy a bean bag from us, you can feel assured it won’t break any time soon.
You won’t be throwing out your next bean bag in any hurry.
Just use the same old filling for your latest investment in comfort.
3. Use the old balls for arts and crafts.
You can use them for many things from: bead making crafts, such as creating your own necklace to art works for the wall.
The little balls do well when painted (with spray paint for instance) and can open up a whole new world if you plan of getting creative.
For an entire list of arts and craft using Polystrene click here. http://polystyrenecentral.com.au/tag/polystyrene-crafts/
Another tip; is to place some glue on the back of an art work and stick the small balls to the back.
Then push the art work (the side with the beans) onto a nail or hook on the wall.
This gives the illusion that the art work is floating and looks great to fill an empty space, without needing a frame.
4. Use them as packaging material
EPS is already used as packaging material and has been for decades.
Whipping them out the next time you need to move precious cargo will serve you well.
The nature of the air filled balls, means they will protect just about anything.
And you don’t need as much filling as you think to protect the most fragile packages.
5. Shrink it Down and Create Your Own Plastic
All you need is a bottle of “Acetone” or (nail Polish remover).
Keep the EPS filling in a larger bowl and pour the acetone over the filling.
Within seconds the acetone dissolves the tiny balls and everything turns to liquid.
If you have a mould handy, you can pour this liquid into the mould and create your own shapes and even toys!
6. Bath Toys for Children
Another great thing about EPS is that it works really well when it comes to floating.
Using a mesh bag and filling it with the bean bag balls means you can create floating pillows.
If you get a little more creative, you can attach some more crafty ideas.
Such as fake eyes to the bags, and have little one’s help design some new characters to play with.
You can even stick the balls to an old towel and create a floating bath pillow for a pool as well.
7. Keep Your Drinks Cold with It
EPS works very well when it comes to insulation, keeping items cold is a piece of cake.
By keeping the drinks wrapped around the tiny bean filling you will be shocked at how well they help drinks stay cold.
The easiest way to use the filling for drinks (for example) is to cut up some old postage tubes keeping both lids on either side.
Then put your drink bottle in there before sealing off the ends.
If this is too troublesome and you are worried the beans will escape, then crafting a simple bag will do the trick.
Just like the bath toys example above. Then wrap your drink up and you will enjoy hours of your drinks remaining nice and cold.
Even in the middle of summer.
8. DIY Home Insulation
Polystyrene makes for fantastic insulation due to thermal resistance.
Breaking the balls down further, or even just keeping them the same size works.
Then filling wall cavities, or housing them in old bags is the idea. You can cover enough attic space to make a difference to how cool you home will feel in the warmer months.
The great news about using it as home insulation, is that newly formed EPS does not burn.
In fact, modern EPS self-extinguishes making the walls and ceiling of any new home safer in the long run.
9. Turn Bean Bag Filling Into Outdoor Feature Pieces
Like Garden gnomes we are all used to, there are a great deal of artificial statues that people buy for their yard.
Now, it is too difficult to make these yourself, however you can donate the bean filling to companies who do.
Recently in the UK a person from a recycling forum called a local manufacturer who makes these items.
The came right over to pick up the EPS.
It is like getting raw materials for free, and gives you the opportunity to get rid of filling you don’t want to use for anything else.
10. Advertise to have it picked up and reused by someone else.
If you have a moment to spare the last tip I have is to place an ad in the local paper or on www.Gumtree.com.au for example.
Offering bean filling to someone who needs it.
You can list the uses above in this exact post, or simply put “bean bag filling” in the headline of the ad.
People who search for this term on Google will come across your ad, contact you and pick it up.
Probably for bean filling for their new bean bag or to serve them in some other way.
Best of all, placing an ad in Gumtree doesn’t cost you anything to do.
The great news about throwing away your old bean bag away is that it’s easy and there are many options.
There are plenty of alternatives regarding the bean bag filling that you may not have thought of before.
Passing it one to someone, might be the best answer for your circumstance. Unless you are feeling creative.
However, most importantly it is good to know that the bean filling can be recycled these days.
Bean Bags are not as bad for the environment as people think.
In fact, it is a lot harder to (if not impossible) to recycle the inner foam of traditional furniture, such as armchairs and sofa lounges.
So bean bags might be better for the environment that we first thought.
I hope this post helps with options for your bean bag disposal.