Keywords: sustainable packaging, expanded polypropylene foam, cell size and nucleation, end-of-life reuse
Summary:With the move toward more sustainable and energy saving solutions for packaging, consideration needs to be made for cradle to cradle solutions that take advantage of life cycle performance, end-of-life collection, recyclability, and reuse. This presentation provides information about the technical solutions using expanded polypropylene (EPP) particle foam for packaging solutions. The technical challenges related to optimal performance including material selection, cell nucleation, cell size, density, and product design as they relate to production, and recyclability. The life cycle of a typical EPP product will be presented and methods of production, processing, end-of-life collection, and reuse will be demonstrated. The shape-molded characteristics of particle foam such as EPP allows for the most efficient three-dimensional and multi-axis design for lightweight rigid packaging. Design and process enhancements can be used to take advantage of these properties, and allows for further performance optimization and validation. Global industry standards, current and future requirements will also be presented as they apply to recycling for packaging applications.