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A biobased and biodegradable alternative to EPS (styrofoam) packaging materials based on starch foam

With a new process technology, companies from Barneveld, Doorn, Ede and Enschede will start working towards the goal of developing a sustainable alternative for packaging products heavier than 5 kilos. This alternative is recyclable, just like paper, but can also be composted.

Products, such as heating and ventilation equipment, furniture, and white and brown goods, are currently packaged with fillers and corner pieces based on expanded polystyrene (EPS). There is an increasing need in the market for more environmentally friendly alternatives. Not only because legal restrictions are imposed, but also because companies and consumers no longer want to receive plastic and EPS. The material to be developed by PaperFoam and project partners must have comparable properties to EPS with regard to density, resilience, tensile and bending strength, but with a low carbon footprint.

The consortium consists of the following five partners: PaperFoam B.V. from Barneveld, Innograaf from Doorn, Thermoware Particle Foam Machinery from Barneveld, Jadima Fijnmetaalwerking from Ede and Vaventis from Enschede. Together they receive a subsidy of €583,538 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with co-financing from the province of Gelderland and Overijssel. The total investment costs amount to € 1,167,077.

The entrepreneurs have submitted a subsidy application for the project to the European Fund for Regional Development in the East of the Netherlands (ERDF East). The ERDF contribution is a subsidy for test and demonstration projects. This subsidy is intended for testing new applications and solutions from SMEs, so that innovations can be brought to the market more quickly. Innovations are important for the competitive position of companies and therefore for the regional economy. ERDF East is a European subsidy program to which the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel also contribute. Helga Witjes, deputy for Economy & Innovation of the province of Gelderland: “For an increasing number of companies in our province, circular working is no longer a future but an everyday practice. They know this is the only way forward. They earn money and create new jobs with circular innovations.”

Erwin Fontaine