Styrofoam has been the standard for packing fragile items for the last 20+ years. Unfortunately most of this product ends up in landfills across the Globe or get broken up into smaller pieces by being tossed out as rubbish. In fact you can find particles of polystyrene in waterways and the oceans.
Now an international group of scientists has created a new type of biodegradable foam made from clay and casein, a protein found in cow’s milk.
Although Casein generally lacks the strength and is water-soluble, it has already been used in some adhesives and paper coatings. With the addition of clay it makes the material water-resistant. After the mixture is freeze-dried, the resulting aero-gel is then cured in an oven. The finished product can then be used commercially for things such as furniture cushions, insulation and packaging.
An important fact is the when this material was added to a compost, almost one-third of it biodegraded within thirty days! Which means that it meets the current biodegradable standards that are in place across the world.