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DEMONSTRATION OF PACKAGING MATERIALS ALTERNATIVES TO EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE
Menke, D. M. DEMONSTRATION OF PACKAGING MATERIALS ALTERNATIVES TO EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/R-98/045 (NTIS 99-104705), 1998.
This report represents the second demonstration of cleaner technologies to support the goals of the 33/50 Program under the EPA Cooperative Agreement No. CR-821848. The report presents assessment results of alternative packaging materials which could potentially replace expanded polystyrene in consumer packaging applications. By replacing EPS with alternative packaging materials, the use and potential emissions of 33/50 chemicals could be reduced. The assessment evaluated the technical (i.e., performance), environmental, and economic characteristics of EPS and three alternative packaging materials: starch-based foam plank, layered corrugated pads, and recycled polyethylene foam.
The report presents information on the environmental, economical, and performance characteristics of alternative packaging materials. Three "alternative" cushioning materials were identified for evaluation within this research; starch-based foam planks, layered corrugated pads, and recycled polyethylene foam. Though some have been used as cushioning materials for some time, these materials are termed "alternative" because each offers unique features beyond their cushioning capabilities. These unique features include their manufacture from recycled materials, biodegradability, water solubility, recyclability, and reusability. the properties and cushioning characteristics of expanded polystyrene (EPS) represent the baseline for this research; evaluation results for each material are compared against those of EPS. Technical, environmental, and economic evaluations were completed to assess various characteristics and parameters concerning the cushioning materials.