Styrofoam made Biodegradable

Posted on May 31, 2011 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News

MONTREAL  StyroChem has launched a material that the firm says is the market’s first biodegradable expandable polystyrene.

Montreal-based StyroChem made EVRgreen-brand EPS commercially available May 30. The firm has completed two successful test runs of the product at its Montreal plant. EVRgreen also can be produced at StyroChem’s plant in Fort Worth, Texas.

“One of the stigmas facing EPS foam has been its lack of biodegradability, and the perception that it takes up a lot of space in landfills, although studies have shown that’s not true,” StyroChem President Glenn Wredenhagen said in a May 26 phone interview.

“With EVRgreen, we think we’ve addressed that question,” he said. “This is something brand new and exciting for EPS.”

EVRgreen is expected to find a home in EPS products that aren’t construction-related. That includes food-service items like cups and bowls, as well as various types of shape packaging. One StyroChem customer already has assembled a marketing campaign that identifies its use of EVRgreen. And Wredenhagen said that a large number of customers also have asked for samples of the material.

EVRgreen “conceivably could go into half of the products made from EPS,” he added. End-product performance also has been unaffected by biodegradability, officials said.

The material uses StyroChem’s EcoPure-brand technology, which incorporates an additive company officials describe as “a catalyst to biodegradation.” The additive interacts with micro-organisms found in landfills to break down the EPS resin at the molecular level.

In testing that simulated a biologically active landfill, EVRgreen has biodegraded at an average of more than 14 percent in less than 140 days.
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