Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Styrofoam

styrofoam packing peanuts in box

Styrofoam has become ubiquitous over the years, but it’s also harmful to our environment. What eco-friendly alternatives exist?

The production of polystyrene foam (PSF) involves the use of fossil fuels and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This material is commonly used in food packaging, insulation, and other applications.

There are several ways to reduce or eliminate the use of PSF. Some companies are using biodegradable materials instead. Others are looking at new technologies such as 3D printing. Still, others are investigating recycled content products.

Why exactly Do We Use Styrofoam?

Styrofoam has been around for a long time, but it’s not very environmentally friendly. Polystyrene is made mostly out of styrene, an industrial chemical that is toxic and causes cancer. There are many other plastics that are safer alternatives.

For example, bamboo is great for making cups, plates, bowls, and utensils. You can also get reusable bags at grocery stores. These bags are made from natural fibers like cotton and linen and are biodegradable. So, when you buy a product that says “reusable” or “compostable”, you’re getting something that is both healthy and sustainable.

The Best Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Styrofoam

Styrofoam has been around since the 1950s and was originally designed as a way to insulate shipping containers. Since then, it has become widely used throughout the world. Today, we use styrofoam for everything from packing peanuts to insulation to building construction. However, this versatile material is not without problems.

One of the biggest issues with styrofoam is that it releases harmful chemicals into the air over time. This makes it a poor choice for long-term storage. Additionally, styrofoam is very flammable and can burn easily if exposed to fire or high heat. 

This list of alternatives to Styrofoam items will help you choose an eco-friendly alternative to your favorite styrofoam products!

Mushroom Materials

Mushrooms are fungi. They are the fruiting bodies of certain Basidiomycota, which form an important component of mycorrhizal symbiosis. Mushrooms are eaten around the world, especially in Asia.

There are about 1,000 species of edible mushrooms, many of them poisonous. Some mushrooms contain toxins called amatoxins, while others contain compounds that may cause allergic reactions.

Edible Peanuts For Packaging

Packing peanuts are even more enjoyable when you can dissolve and eat them! We can’t guarantee they will taste great, but since packing peanuts are made entirely out of corn starch, you don’t have anything to worry about if your pet decides to snack on them.

edible peanuts as packing material

Peat Plastic

Peat is found all around the world, but mostly in Europe and North America. It is an organic material composed primarily of plant matter that decomposes slowly when exposed to air and water. When burned, peat produces large amounts of carbon dioxide, making it useful for creating energy.

The researchers at Aalto University were interested in using peat instead of plastic because it could be recycled. To create biodegradable products, the team first had to remove impurities like sand and clay. Then they added a mix of bacteria and fungi to break down the peat into simple sugars.

Afterward, they formed the peat into small pieces and molded them into various shapes. The results were surprisingly sturdy. The cups lasted about three months before breaking apart. The researchers plan to continue testing different types of peat and molding them into other items.

Ecotainer Cups

More than 90% of the styrofoam in New Yorkers’ landfills comes from food containers like plates and take-out boxes. But those aren’t recyclable. Styrofoam cups are recyclable — if you’re willing to pay a premium price.

Ecotainers are made from recycled plants and paper pulp, making them 100% biodegradable. And while they may cost a few bucks more than regular styrofoam cups, they’re worth every penny.

PLA Paper That Is Lined

PLA-lined cupboard paper is the best choice for all types of food storage. It is biodegradable and completely safe to use. It is also very easy to dispose of. PLA-lined paper is great for storing dry goods like cereal, pasta, rice, flour, sugar, etc. It is also great for storing wet foods like soups, sauces, and salad dressings. You can store anything you want in your kitchen cupboards.

Poly-coating is a coating applied to paper products to protect them against moisture absorption. It is usually applied to paperboard and corrugated fiberboard products, but other materials may also be coated.

Paperboard and corrugated products are often coated using polyethylene terephthalate glycol or polypropylene glycol. Some types of poly-coated paperboard and/or corrugated products are also available pre-treated with a water-based adhesive prior to application of the poly coating. 

recycled packing paper

Molded And Bagasse Fiber

Bagasse and molded fiber are both suitable substitutes for wood. Bagasse is an agricultural waste product that is often burned or fed to livestock. Molded fiber is made from recycled plastic bottles. Both materials can be used to create products like furniture, dishes, and other household items.

Bagasse is made from the leftover material from the sugar or wheat extraction process. It offers an eco-friendly alternative to foam insulation. Molded Fiber is made from a blend of recycled paperboard, newsprint, and/or corrugated cardboard. It offers a natural-looking alternative to foam insulation.

Mineral Polypropylene

Mineral-filled Polypropylene is a type of polypropylene that contains minerals instead of additives. These minerals help reduce the overall weight of the product while maintaining its strength. As a result, fewer materials are required to manufacture the same volume of products.

Polypropylene is an inexpensive plastic made from propylene monomers. Polypropylene can be molded into many shapes, making it ideal for packaging. It is resistant to heat, moisture, and oil. It is also non-reactive and easy to clean. Its properties allow it to withstand extreme temperatures. It is often used for food storage due to its durability. It is also used for medical devices because of its resistance to bacteria.

Final Thoughts

There are so many options out there when it comes to choosing environmentally friendly alternatives to styrofoam. The key is to find something that works for you. If you need a large quantity of storage space, then consider purchasing a commercial-grade container.

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