Time & Location
About the Event
Join our Styrofoam Round-up!
May 17-24, 2021
If you reside or vacation on Lake Samish, you probably share our commitment to keeping our lake water clean. This spring, Lake Samish Association is organizing an effort to remove styrofoam debris from around the lake, and we invite you to participate.
What is styrofoam?
Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene beads) is the same material used in coffee cups and as cushioning material in packaging. It’s lightweight and buoyant, so it’s been used in dock construction for many years.
What’s the problem with styrofoam?
Expanded polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam), is made up of small "beads" joined together to form a larger shape. Over the years, styrofoam used in docks takes a beating from wave action and the bonds between the beads break down. Small pieces of the material come loose, and these pieces can resemble food to fish and birds. If ingested, they can lodge in the digestive system of the animal, causing trauma or death. What’s more, styrofoam debris on the shoreline or floating in the lake is unsightly. Styrofoam gets very heavy when waterlogged and is expensive to recycle, so it’s not accepted at many recycling facilities. It takes decades or centuries for styrofoam to break down, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and other sources.
What can I do about it?
There are several ways you can help mitigate this problem of styrofoam in the lake:
1. If you see pieces of it on your shoreline or floating in the water, remove it and dispose of it in the trash.
2. Consider removing polystyrene from your docks and structures and replacing it with an environmentally friendly alternative. The State of Washington does not allow styrofoam to be used in dock construction any more unless it is enclosed. Some local companies, such as Lakeside Marine and Cypress Designs, can offer advice on alternatives.
3. Participate in Lake Samish Association’s styrofoam round-up May 17-24. We are working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Whatcom County Department of Public Works to sponsor a clean-up effort. A team of volunteers will be removing styrofoam and other large pieces of debris from the lake and public shorelines
from May 17-24. Public Works has agreed to haul it away and pay the dump fees. This is an opportunity for you to get rid of the derelict styrofoam that may be on your property, and to support your community by volunteering to help in the styrofoam round-up.
For more information or to volunteer, please e-mail