German manufacturer Plant Pack GMBH have developed a more sustainable alternative to EPS (expanded polystyrene). Manufactured using corn semolina from its sister company Nordgetreide GmbH & Co. KG, it utilises residual material that is unsuitable for food production, which is then ‘puffed’ to create a sustainable material. This new material has similar shock-absorbing and heat-insulating properties as EPS, while, at the same time, having sustainability advantages. As it is made from 100% bio-based raw materials, after use it can be disposed of in organic waste, or composted domestically. It is also more sustainable in its life cycle, with 51% fewer CO2 emissions over its life compared to EPS. In order to make the product moisture repellent, a thin layer of PLA (polylactic acid) is added. It is anticipated that it could replace conventional EPS uses providing insulation for temperature-sensitive food products as well as non-packaging applications such as for protecting electrical products.
More info in The Innovation Zone.