by: A&M Aquatics August 22, 2019 CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE BY A&M AQUATICS New green “Styros” are both biodegradable...
What is oxo-biodegradability and how does it work in REFOAM?
REFOAM is blended with a small amount of additive that will allow the material to oxidize (essentially rust), changing it into a material that can biodegrade. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a unique material since in its expanded state it is up to 98% air. This porosity allows oxo-biodegradation to work especially well and more readily than in other solid plastic products.
How can REFOAM be both recyclable and degradable?
EPS foam is a readily recyclable material and boast hundreds of collection points in communities nationwide. The scrap is typically ground up, densified, and remanufactured into durable items such as picture frames. The effect of the small amount of additive in REFOAM is much less effective in a densified state or when blended with regular EPS, and arrests any practical oxo-biodegradation afterward.
When would oxo-biodegradation occur and how does it impact product durability?
Again, the amount of additive in REFOAM is carefully controlled so that it will remain shelf stable and durable for years in most storage conditions. Recycling is still the recommended option for disposal, but when that is neither available nor practical, REFOAM will go through an oxo-biodegradation cycle in any oxygen rich landfill not designed to prevent it. And when carelessly discarded; natural sunlight, heat, and moisture will accelerate that process to reduce the long term effects on parks, roadsides, waterways, and other sensitive ecological areas.
How does REFOAM stack up to other so called “Green” packaging materials?
Since REFOAM is largely made of air, it is also a stingy user of raw materials. It likely takes more energy just to produce some other “Green” products than what makes up the equivalent REFOAM item. In addition, materials marketed as compostable are not always welcomed by commercial composters and water soluble materials still create pollutants that will need to be treated out. Nearly all these other insulating products also require corrugated to structurally bind them for shipping, which adds to overall packaging costs. Since molded REFOAM parts, such as shipping coolers, are typically sturdier, it may be possible to ditch the box and ship without, (ask us how). Therefore, REFOAM, without any corrugated, could potentially be the most economical and ecological product on the market.
What documentation is there for REFOAM and how long does oxo-biodegradation take?
REFOAM material was thoroughly tested for years in controlled laboratory conditions and a number of recognized ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards. The finished product was also exposed to real world natural elements for visual and tactile confirmation of these tests, and performed as expected. In the oxo-biodegradation process the material oxidizes to a point where it can biodegrade. The length of time required to complete the process is entirely dependent on the conditions of exposure. In dry storage this might take decades or when exposed to sunlight, heat, and moisture perhaps as little as a couple of years.