Researchers Find Polystyrene Substitute for Packaging - Popcorn

Jun, 2021 - By SMI

Researchers Find Polystyrene Substitute for Packaging - Popcorn

The novel popcorn packaging is water-repellent and a sustainable alternative to plastic products.

Apart from simply meeting certain requirements for storage transport and presentation, modern packaging also needs to be sustainable in today's day and age. Meaning that their used material ought to be environment friendly and manufactured with the help of renewable resources, durable enough to be reused and is easy for recycling at its useful life’s end.

A research team from the University of Göttingen, for many years, has been working to investigate the process of manufacturing for items made from popcorn. The products are potentially the best environmentally-friendly substitutes for plastic or polystyrene. The university along with the company Nordgetreide signed a license agreement to commercialize the products and process of the packaging industry.

The packaging market still is the largest plastic goods purchaser although key players along with retail chains have started to rethink the policies for packaging a long while ago aiming for increased recycling. The team of the study, “Chemie und Verfahrenstechnik von Verbundwerkstoffen" (chemistry and process engineering of composite materials) from the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology from Göttingen University finally achieved milestone in development of a new process, on the basis of its experience worth of several years in renewable raw materials field.

As a result, they discovered that production of 3D molded forms could be done with the help of ‘granulated’ popcorn. This granular material can be sourced through renewable biological ways, which is a sustainable and eco-friendly process. Hence, it is a great alternative for previously used polystyrene products. This plant-based packaging material is produced from inedible corn flakes byproducts and it is easily compostable without leaving any residue. The packaging, as per the scientists, is also water-repellent.

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