Recycling and environmental protection are concepts that we can often hear about today. We still use a large amount of non-degradable materials around us, which accumulate and pollute the environment. The biggest problem is plastic and polystyrene waste.

Styrofoam peanuts are a disaster for the environment

Fortunately, these materials can be replaced in many cases. Common wastes include styrofoam peanuts, which are used in transportation. Their purpose is to protect the goods transported. Have you ever thought that styrofoam peanuts could be replaced with popcorn? It is the idea of ​​a German scientist named Alireza Kharazipour. He came up with the idea when he ate popcorn at the cinema.

Popcorn has a similar size, is soft and cheap. The production of styrofoam peanuts requires a fossil fuel extraction process. When this artificial material enters nature, it gradually disintegrates into dangerous microplastics. Alireza Kharazipour thinks that popcorn is a much better material instead of artificial fillings. Corn is much cheaper and environmentally friendly.

Packaging materials replaced by popcorn

In the United States alone, about 3 million tons of polystyrene are produced each year. Styrofoam packaging materials are often used in the packaging of electronics and other fragile items. Unfortunately, recycling facilities cannot process styrofoam peanuts.

Stefan Schult, Managing Director of Nordgetreide, talks about using popcorn as the alternative and said, “Our popcorn packaging is a great sustainable alternative to polystyrene which is derived from petroleum”

Kharazipour also talks to Fast Company about its new discovery and explained, “The products are very light because popcorn granules are filled with air like honeycombs. When grain maize expands into popcorn, the volume increases by 15 percent to 20 percent.”

Credit: University of Göttingen

Popcorn has many benefits

The advantage of popcorn is the fact that it can be made from any type of corn and is also completely biodegradable. Popcorn can be pressed into different shapes to hold different products.

The discovery of the scientist is very innovative. The discovery has landed him an exclusive licensing agreement with a medium-sized grain and cereal company in Europe called Nordgetreide. More and more companies are looking for ways to ensure that product packaging is as environmentally friendly as possible. Ideas like this can help make waste less degradable in nature.


Photo credit:
University of Göttingen, Leakshare