Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/219748
Title: STYROFOAM IMPACT TO ENVIRONMENT AND ALTERNATE PACKAGING MATERIAL
Authors: AU YANG SIAN
Keywords: Environmental Management
Master (Environmental Management)
MEM
Study Report (MEM)
Kua Harn Wei
2016/2017 EnvM
Issue Date: 25-Jul-2017
Citation: AU YANG SIAN (2017-07-25). STYROFOAM IMPACT TO ENVIRONMENT AND ALTERNATE PACKAGING MATERIAL. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) better known as Styrofoam are popular packaging and tableware material with an increasing range of application that is used in our daily life. However, this is currently being managed as a linear economy fashion though recycling is technologically possible, it is not practical and cost efficient to do so in addition to the inevitable degradation of the original polymer chains when the Styrofoam is being recycled. According to a 1986 EPA report where it has highlighted the production of polystyrene as the top five contributors to pollution to the environment. Since the foam industry is a major Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) consuming sector especially the smaller companies in countries within the APAC region that lack proper governance and the necessary financial and expertise to implement the technology, as well as policies enforcement continues to use HCFCs as the primary blowing agent. Even though the Montreal Protocol aims to reduce HCFC usage by 10% in 2015, 35% in 2020 and 67.5% in 2025 and stop using HCFCs entirely by 2030. The other problem with Styrofoam is it is not biodegradable and breaks down into microscopic particles (known as microplastics) staying in the environment would pose a threat to the food chain where microorganisms and fishes can accidentally consume it and start infiltrating the food chain. It has also been dubbed as the “silent killer” as well because of the chemical styrene and benzene found in Styrofoam where it will create neurotoxins that are carcinogenic and has an adverse impact on human health. So reducing the reliant on EPS and promoting the use of the renewable material would help to minimize pollution as well as conserving natural resources. Thus in this Study report, the goal is to look for an alternative material that can protect the goods during transportation and also be used as a tableware with a cost effective solution. Bearing in mind that the substitute has to be a viable business model, the solution aims at minimizing the major cost component of production such as the raw material and logistics cost that would become a low-cost material to replace Styrofoam. The proposed solution is to replace polystyrene with biomass from palm tree instead of other biodegradable composites as palm oil is slated to play an even more dominant role because the uses for vegetable oils would increase for the edible and non-edible product as human population grows. As a result, the biomass created from the palm oil industry will also proportionately increase where less than 10 percent of the biomass is being exploited today. Comparing to other crop-based oil seeds, palm oil provides the highest yield per hectare annually, and corn and soybean could be used to provide food for famine nations instead. Tapping on the proximity (Indonesia and Malaysia accounted for 80% of the world’s palm oil production), there is a ready abundance of low-cost raw material and is truly sustainable where it would prevent the burning, and the agriculture waste will help create another packaging industry.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/219748
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