This month’s jury we focused on finding materials that can act as sustainable alternatives to some of the most common and less eco-friendly everyday products. From Styrofoam to plastic coffee cup alternatives– take a peek at some of the latest materials to be voted into the Material ConneXion library.
Fully Recyclable Coffee Cups
To maintain water-resistance, standard paper coffee cups are produced from plastic-coated virgin paperboard, which does not break down well when recycled. The shell of the fully recyclable coffee cup is made from recycled paperboard with no waterproofing chemicals. An additional food-grade liner is lightly glued in place so that it separates quickly, easily, and in one piece when the cup is re-pulped during standard recycling processes. This means that the cup can be disposed of in any recycling bin at home, on the street, in the coffee shop or office. This innovation is an environmentally friendly solution for cafes and consumers seeking a better alternative to traditional non-recyclable disposable cups.
By: 100BIO INC.
A sustainable foam for food packaging made from polylactic acid (PLA), that completely biodegrades in a commercial compost in less than nine weeks. This FDA approved (for food contact) foam is lightweight, sturdy, heat-resistant, and leak-resistant, without the toxic, non-renewable features of Styrofoam. Furthermore, the material can be used to replace cardboard/paper packaging (i.e. egg cartons) to better insulate products from damage. In comparison to other low environmental impact competitors, the foam cuts the cost of bio-based products by utilizing 40-50% less raw material through its unique foaming process. Today’s applications include food-service products, such as school lunch trays, meat/food trays, cosmetic gift box packaging, and clamshell take-out boxes.
Made from 80% recycled corrugated cardboard and without any adhesives, this packaging innovation changes the way shoes are packed, shipped, warehoused, stored, displayed, and sold. By using 20-57% less cardboard and 20-50% less volume, the boxes are designed to be more sustainable and cost-effective compared to traditional shoeboxes. The design of the boxes allows customers to see the shoes without opening the box while also helping stores stack more boxes and improve storing. The boxes also eliminate the need for shopping bags, as they can convert into bags, and can even be transformed into kids’ toys post-use.
By: Cruz Foam, Inc
A compostable foam made from chitin that offers sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based foams and Styrofoam. Chitin is a biopolymer found in the exoskeletons of shellfish such as crabs, lobster, and shrimp. The chitin that Cruz Foam, Inc uses comes from seafood shell waste– a cheap by-product produced in fisheries and manufacturing plants in southeast Asia. Using a patented water-based process, the chitin is turned into an industrial foam. The resulting foam matches the mechanical properties of current polystyrene (PS) and polyurethane (PU) structural foam. It can be white if 100% of chitin is used or tan if mixed with paper.
By: Autogrill Group
A 100% natural and recyclable composite board made from 30-50% recycled coffee grounds that is similar in size and density to MDF. The coffee grounds are collected as post-consumer waste from the company’s store and mixed with sawdust from leftover wood production. After being mixed they are pressed by industrial equipment into boards. Due to its composition, the material has an overall ‘natural’ look. The material contributes to the improvement of air quality due to a reduction in VOC emissions from indoor furniture products. For furniture applications, the material complies with the relevant EN standards for durability.