With sustainability and the environment's health being critical to organisations and consumers, foam must be eco-friendly. The UK government has pledged to eliminate all 'avoidable' plastic waste by the end of 2042 with a shorter-term goal of reducing waste. All plastic waste has a detrimental effect on the sea and nature as much of it makes its way into our waters, as we've seen on David Attenborough's Blue Planet.
Packaging is a primary culprit in this damage to nature, and businesses are seeking new biodegradable materials that can be used, including delicate products. For example, bubble wrap is a great solution, but it's not suitable as an environmentally friendly option.
Foam is an excellent material that is eco-friendly. It has a minimal impact on the environment due to taking a tiny amount of energy to make and does not involve poisonous chemicals. Whether you need packaging in flight cases, camera cases, acoustic foam or even gift boxes, foam provides an excellent solution that is not bad for the environment. In addition to being used for a purpose, foam can then be reused and recycled to be used yet again. This comes in the form of reconstituted foam, an excellent solution for seating, gymnastic mats, and more.
Reconstituted foam is made of the offcuts of foam that are compacted and bonded together. The environmental impact of making foam is already minimal, and when it's used again, it's even better. It's a clean process to make foam without the use of combustible gases.
Here at Easyfoam, we are passionate about the environment and aim to be the foam supplier that is the most sustainable and effective at reducing emissions in the UK. We don't use chemicals such as PBDEs (Polybrominated diphenyl Ethers) or CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), which are pervasive pollutants detrimental to both human health and the global environment. Our materials are sourced from sustainable resources, and we only work with companies committed to following strict Green Environmental Policies.
We want to invite you to also make a difference by choosing the right packaging. Something slightly disappointing about foam is that it's not biodegradable. However, it's reusable in the form of chip foam – otherwise known as reconstituted foam. A few years back, all foam scraps would be sent to the landfill, but that's no longer the case. Foam is now reused. Here at Easyfoam, we've observed a growing demand for foam, particularly with polyethylene and polyurethane. If you consider what is used for comfort in mattresses, sofas and even sponges, there is no real alternative to foam. Foam is also a popular cleaning tool in homes and businesses.
Consumers want the foam to last, which prevents it from being made to be biodegradable. Polyurethane is used in furniture most predominantly with cushions, mattresses, mattress toppers, domestic sponges and automotive parts. The future is in looking at how foam is cut and machined. Laser and water jet cutting can make all the difference in the amount of scrap foam generated.
Another critical arena is energy recovery. It's vital that foam doesn't go to the landfill, and anybody who wants to recycle foam should ensure that it's sent to generate energy. Many discussions are going on between foam manufacturers and the chemical plants to find new ways to make foam even more environmentally friendly in the foam industry. The industry has been investigating whether it makes sense to inject silver into foam as it's antibacterial and can keep the foam cleaner and more hygienic for longer.
We hope that there will soon be recycling bins for foam as there is so much of it. Consider all the foams used for washing up. People buy these as cheap as they can as they know they won't last long. They may be more willing to pay for a more costly bath sponge, but only if it stays cleaner for longer. The future of foam will continue to evolve to support the environment, and we're excited about how that will pan out. Watch this space.