Foam packaging made of recycled cardboard
Researchers publishing in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering developed a cushioning foam from cardboard waste.
Though it was already possible to make a foam from paper waste, these methods required several chemical pretreatment steps. The researchers now found a simpler way to make paper foam. They broke down cardboard scraps in a blender to create a pulp, then mixed it with either gelatin or polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue. The mixtures were poured into moulds, refrigerated, then freeze-dried to form cushioning foams. Both paper-based foams served as good thermal insulators and strong energy absorbers, even better than some plastic foams.
The team then created a heavy-duty version of their wastepaper foam by combining the pulp, gelatin, PVA glue, and a silica-based fluid that hardens as force is applied. This version of the cardboard-based foam even withstood hits from a hammer without falling apart. Therefore, the foam could possibly be used in force-intensive deliveries, such as parachute-free airdrops.
Photo: Jinsheng Gou