Removing styrofoam from my lawn?
January 12, 2018 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Apparently during trash pickup a week or so ago, the trash guys managed to spill a box of styrofoam (or some equivalent) packing stuff all over the road and in several yards. It's been snowy, and the beads have been buried until the melt this week, and now I've got hundreds of marble-sized white things all through my yard. They're squishy and round and definitely not the kind that melt in water. Is there any reasonable way to remove them en masse if they're too small for a rake and too soggy for a vacuum?
posted by specialagentwebb to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
 
I try a lawnmower with the bag attached.
posted by The Deej at 7:24 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


ugh, you don't want the mower to just reduce them to a zillion little beads of styrofoam.

I suspect your choices are either wait for it to all dry out, and then rake, or pick them up by hand. any chance you have a kid in the neighborhood who wants to make some money? :)
posted by acm at 7:27 AM on January 12


I agree with The Deej. The mower will vacuum the styrofoam into the bag, and then you can dump the bag into the trash. I use the same process with leaves in the fall.
posted by davcoo at 7:40 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Too soggy for a wet vac, even? Maybe a particularly aggressive pooper-scooper?
posted by teremala at 7:41 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Borrow a wet vac from a friend or rent one from your local Home Depot. It will do the job.
posted by mareli at 7:59 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Shop vac that's rated for wet/dry should do it. While you're renting it also rent the right kind of extension cord so you can safely get power to where the styrofoam is - nothing more annoying than renting things at HD for a day only to not have everything you need to do the job.
posted by Mizu at 8:23 AM on January 12


There's no need to involve electricity or internal combustion engines, especially when people are paying good money for things like spin classes.

Get a broom and a big cardboard box. Lay the box on its side, sweep the little foam things into the box.

If you have or know kids, they might enjoy doing this, possibly for money (but try an offer of pizza or something first: the money will immediately make this less fun).
posted by amtho at 8:45 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


There's no need to involve electricity or internal combustion engines, especially when people are paying good money for things like spin classes.

Eh, but it's not exactly easy to sweep up things that are squishy and wet.

I like the idea of getting kids to do it, though. Once when I was a kid my parents offered a bounty of 10 cents on every dandelion I picked out of our yard and you better believe I scoured that yard.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:18 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


A. Wait for dry weather. Pick them up with a nylon feather duster or some other method that employs static electricity.

B. Erect tallest lightning rod in your area on your lawn. Wait for storm. See what happens.
posted by popcassady at 9:28 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Leaf blower to get them into a smaller area then broom or rake (even if they're too small to take efficiently you should be able to get them into a bucket or bag and then manually remove the remainder.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:29 AM on January 12


rent a leaf vac.
posted by at at 1:48 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Wet vac. 50$ is about how much you'll spend on renting so just go buy one - Costco, Home Despot, sears, they are all essentially the same machine. I bought the cheapest ~6 gallon I could find, have been running it without a bag (just the filter) for years and I recently used it to clean up a BBQ that had been knocked over and rained on outside. I use it for all sorts of messes, any time glass needs to be cleanup, anything gross. Just check the foam bits aren't to big for the hose.
posted by zenon at 1:55 PM on January 12


Eh, but it's not exactly easy to sweep up things that are squishy and wet.

They're likely styrofoam. They'll be much lighter and drier than anything else touching them. Which means that a broom/cloth/paper sweeper will move them much more readily than any associated leaves or grass -- it could work really well.
posted by amtho at 3:19 PM on January 12


If none of the offered methods work out, you can do it manually, using one of those $5 reach-extenders that convert a squeeze on their handle to a pinching action at the other end. It's labor-intensive, but you won't kill your back bending over. I use one to pick up litter, and it works with anything that's not heavy.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:49 AM on January 13


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