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Biodegradable Styrofoam Alternative Earns Cradle to Cradle Certification

An alternative to foam packaging that is biodegradable and based on sugar cane has earned Cradle to Cradle certification.

Synbra Technology's BioFoam product is a packaging material like expanded polystyrene foam (the type of packaging filler commonly referred to as sytrofoam), but it is made out of polylactic acid, a material derived from sugar cane processing.

BioFoam will initially be used by companies within the Synbra Group that provide packaging products, but the company says that it's possible that BioFoam could be used to replace expanded polystyrene within building materials.

Since BioFoam is made from polylactic acid, it can biodegrade under certain condition when it's no longer needed. The material can also be reformed to fit around different products.

Synbra is building its first plant for commercializing the material in the Netherlands, with plans to be up and running this year. The company says the plant will be able to produce 5,000 tons a year.

Cradle to Cradle certification was given by the Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency (EPEA), which was founded by Michael Braungart, one of the co-founders of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC). The EPEA is able to grant Cradle to Cradle certification based on criteria set forth by MBDC, which includes materials, material reuse, energy use, water use and social responsibility.

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