• EVA Foam, or craft foam, is a soft flexible foam, commonly sold in thin sheets, rolls, or tiles. It is shock absorbent, buoyant, and waterproof, it is commonly used in sporting goods. In other applications it used for cosplay props and children’s crafts. It can be easily cut and formed with heat. 1, 2


  • EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate, which is created from acetic acid, and ethene. 1, 2 Acetic acid is primarily manufactured through a reaction of methane, which itself is synthesized from carbon monoxide and hydrogen. 4, 5 Ethene is a fossil fuels derivative. 6


  • While technology for recycling EVA exists, it is not commonly used by municipal waste facilities. Therefore most EVA foam ends up in landfills, where it does not biodegrade. Since EVA must be manufactured with fossil fuels products, it also contributes to global warming.

Human Health

  • EVA foam may be irritating to the skin. 8 Heating the foam releases fumes that cause respiratory irritation, including carbon monoxide, which can build up and poison humans. 8, 9 Hoehn Plastics’ MSDS indicates that EVA foam can also decompose to vinyl acetate and acetic acid when burned. 8 Vinyl acetate is toxic, causing severe irritation to the skin and eyes, and possibly cancer. 10 Acetic acid also causes severe irritation and organ damage. 11

Safe Use and Exposure

  • When heating EVA, wear a respirator and work in a well ventilated area, or outdoors, where pets and other individuals will not be exposed to the fumes. Wear gloves to avoid skin irritation.

Proper disposal

  • Usable EVA should be donated or saved for reuse. Otherwise it should be disposed of in the regular trash. New York City does not recycle plastic foams, so it will be put in a landfill. 12

Safe Alternatives


  1. “Ethylene-vinyl Acetate”, Wikipedia,
  2. “Creating a Costume/Cosplay from E.V.A Foam”, Instructables,
  3. EVA
  4. “Acetic Acid – Production”, Wikipedia,
  5. “Methanol”, PubChem,
  6. “Ethylene”, Pubchem,
  7. “How to Recycle EVA foam?”, Greenmax Intco Recycling,
  8. Hoehn Plastics Ethylene Vinyl Acetate MSDS,
  9. “PSA: EVA Foam Safety Tips”, Allen Amis Creations,
  10. “Vinyl Acetate Safety and Hazards”, PubChem,
  11. “Acetic Acid Safety and Hazards”, PubChem,
  12. “About New York City’s Curbside Recycling Program”, Sims Municipal Recycling,