Will Fungi Mushrooms Replace EPS?
Fungi mushrooms are well known as a kind of ingredient which are used to cook various kinds of tasty foods. But nowadays people can make mushrooms into materials for packaging, insulation and fiberboard etc. It is reported that this new kind of fungi-based material is of the similar costs and performance as EPS. However, EPS is not biodegradable and not easy for recycling. Besides the fact that it is made of petrol which is non-renewable and very limited. Compared to EPS, fungi mushrooms are grown instead of manufactured, natural, renewable, and biodegradable and so it is more welcome. The company which develop this technology has bigger ambition. They are expanding this technology into applications like packaging, insulation, and fiberboard etc.
Geofoam is Widely Used
What is Geofoam?
Geofoam is in nature EPS or XPS foam bulks and its common size is 2 m x 0.75 m x 0.75 m. It might be named for the reason that it is used in geographical applications. The first attempt was made in Norway 1972 when engineers used EPS foam as embankments around the Flom Bridge for the purpose to reduce settlements. Several conferences was held since then for engineers to share their ideas and experience.
Applications of Geofoam
In addition to the application of embankments, Geofoam can also be used in the following applications: slope stabilization which helps reduce the mass and gravitational force; retaining structures which reduce the lateral pressure and prevent settlement and improve water proofing; utility protection which reduce the vertical stresses on utilities, protect them from earthquakes and other damages.
Advantages and disdavantages of Geofoam
EPS foam is extremely light in weight with high strength and durability. For these reasons, the using of Geofoam can be beneficial in construction time and costs. It is also good for the environment and its behavior is quite predictable. However, Geofoam is vulnerable to fire, petroleum solvents and buoyancy. Both its advantages and disadvantages should be taken into consideration when EPS/XPS foam Geofoam is used in various applications.
Use EPS to Produce Better Vehicles
Inside a veihicle, you can find EPS used as bumpers, seat panels, dashboards, arm rests etc. Why should EPS be used in a vehicle? In short, the reason is that EPS has the properties of shock absorption, insulation, light weighted and rapid moulding.
Facts about EPS in Landfills
Will EPS Degrade in Landfills?
EPS products do not degrade in landfills. However it may surprise you that the commonly known “degradable” matrials like paper even food waste do not degrade in most landfills neither. How come? Actually, there are three types of landfill fields nowadays including anaerobic bioreactor landfill, aerobic landfill and semi-aerobic landfill. The most popular landfill across the world is the first kind which is easier to build and maintain. But the low expense comes at the cost of some trade-offs. One of the problem it brings is that air is deprived in these landfills which makes degradation harder for not only nondegradable materials like EPS but also degradable materials like paper.
Current situation of EPS in Landfills
It is reported that the largest component in landfills is paper (50%) while plastic constitute about 10% of the waste. In Europe, EPS products are completely banned from landfills. It is the original manufacturer who is responsible for the management of EPS waste. The land available for landfill is very limited compared to the rapid increasing amount of waste. I One of the reason for countries banned it from landfills should be that EPS is made light weighted which means its weight-volume ratio is very small. By using EPS compactors its weight can be up to 90 times bigger with the same volume. This should be benificial for the landfilling or recycling of EPS.
Why EPS a better packaging material than paper?
When choosing packaging materials, the following factors must be taken into consideration: thermal insulation performance, shock absorbing ability and environmental impacts.
The most apparent advantage of EPS over the cardboard is that its insulation performance is better. During the same time of 10 minutes, the paper cup losts twice as much heat as that in a foam cup. To protect people’s hand from the hot beverages, the paper cups must be two-layered or use some kind of wrap. Hence, the paper containers are bigger and heavier.
On the other hand, it is reported that, based on the life cycle analysis, the energy consumption and environmental impacts of EPS packaging is better than cardboard packaging as is shown in the following pictures.
Life Cycle Assessment of EPS
Subsystems for Life Cycle Analysis
The life cycle of EPS includes processes from the production of EPS raw materials to the end-life management, it can be divided into 4 parts: Raw Materials, Manufacture, Transportation and Management.