Material Highlight: Green Cell Foam
by Shawn Binder on 01/27/2020 | 3 Minute Read
Launched back in 2002, Green Cell Foam is a biodegradable alternative made from non-GMO cornstarch integrated into the packaging of hundreds of companies, both large and small, that require exceptional cushioning and insulating performance, all the while demonstrating the highest degree of care to the environment.
So what exactly is Green Cell Foam? In terms of look and feel, it’s closest relative might be packaging peanuts. Contrary to its name, the material is beige, and long strands of it are stacked on top of each other, hugging and securing an object that needs to get transported in insulation. The use of Green Cell Foam is quite broad, protecting pharmaceuticals, foods of all types, wine bottles, and electronic products, among others.
Although you can find Green Cell Foam in packaging projects such as Van Luweeuwin and Beckon Icecream, it’s beginning to make waves as it partners with NIKU Farms, a Toronto-based farm-to-door meat subscription service where consumers can choose 100 % grass-fed chicken, beef, and pork products to be sent to their home monthly, or as a one-time purchase.
NIKU Farm’s partnership with Green Cell Foam means that this will be the first time the ground-breaking shipping material will come to Canada. The high-quality meat company believes that their partnership with the biodegradable packaging solution will continue to push them towards sustainability in all aspects of their business.
“We created Green Cell Foam to be a completely biodegradable, limited-impact alternative to Styrofoam, plastic, and other landfill-clogging materials commonly used in shipping,” stated Tim Colonnese, CEO of KTM Industries, makers of Green Cell Foam. “We’re proud of the work we do for partners who share our vision and are excited to expand in Canada with NIKU Farms, a mission-driven company with sustainability ingrained into all aspects of its business.”
Green Cell Foam is environmentally friendly in the grand scheme of packaging options. Compared to typical plastic packaging options, the material is BPI-certified and entirely compostable and water-soluble, meaning it can be safely burned, added to any compost pile, yard waste container, or dissolved in a sink or bucket of water. Green Cell Plus takes 3-panel sections of Green Cell Foam and envelops them in a polyethylene film to provide an effective barrier against moisture and humidity. Plus, the plastic film is readily recyclable in most communities, and manufacturing requires 70% less energy and produces 80% fewer greenhouse gases than petroleum-based foams.
When protected in a box or bag, Green Cell Foam has the potential to last for years. Unless exposed to the elements for an extended period, the foam remains sturdy, but it is notably a hygroscopic material meaning that being exposed causes it to lose its functionality.
Designers should consider using Green Cell Foam in their designs, given that it is the only foamed material that offers shock and thermal protection while demonstrating true environmental sustainability. Its corrugated design optimizes cushioning and stabilizes cargo, and it’s naturally anti-static, making it safe for electronics and other sensitive products. This versatility allows for a broad range of applications where it can get engineered in a beautiful, eye-catching way.
With the rise of Green Cell Foam as a packaging solution, the possibility of the 500 billion pounds of plastic bags and packaging produced every year has the potential to be reduced. As more designers, businesses, and shipping companies begin to understand it’s uses and benefits, this sleek and sustainable packaging solution might be the next big thing.
“We encourage other Canadian companies to join us in switching to a more sustainable option like Green Cell Foam. With Canada poised to ban single-use plastics by 2021, the time is now,” said Colonnese.
Looks like Canada, as always, is ahead of the curve.