PULLMAN, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video references a recent Styrofoam ban in Maine.
Researchers at Washington State University developed an environmentally friendly alternative to Styrofoam.
According to a release from the university, the alternative would be made from plant-based material, mostly from nanocrystals of cellulose.
The researchers also developed an environmentally friendly manufacturing process to make the foam. The process uses water as a solvent instead of harmful solvents. They said it also works better than Styrofoam.
Amir Ameli, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Xiao Zhang, associate professor in the Gene and Linda School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering led the research. Their findings were published in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers.
Styrofoam is made from petroleum and is used in everything from coffee cups to building materials, transportation and packaging. The material is made from toxic ingredients and does not degrade naturally. It also creates pollution when it burns.
The researchers said the new material is very lightweight and can support up to 200 times its weight without changing shape.
They are now working to developing formations for stronger and more durable materials.