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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Enhancing Profitability & Sustainability Upland Cotton, Cottonseed, & Cotton Byprod Through Imprvmnts in Harvesting, Ginning, & Mech Process

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Title: Evaluation of Biomass Residual Substrate Blends for Eco-Friendly Packaging and Insulation Sheets/Panels

item Holt, Gregory
item Mcintyre, Gavin -
item Flagg, Dan -
item Bayer, Eben -

Research conducted cooperatively with:

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 30, 2010
Publication Date: September 18, 2010
Citation: Holt, G.A., Mcintyre, G., Flagg, D., Bayer, E. 2010. Evaluation of Biomass Residual Substrate Blends for Eco-Friendly Packaging and Insulation Sheets/Panels [abstract]. Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference, September 18-22, 2010, Fort Collins, Colorado. Available: Fibers and Cellulosics Division.

Technical Abstract: Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics and is commonly produced in three forms: 1) Extruded polystyrene – disposable utensils, CD/DVD cases, yogurt containers, smoke alarm housing, etc.; 2) Expanded polystyrene foam – molded packaging materials and packaging "peanuts"; and 3) Extruded polystyrene foam – insulation boards. Extruded polystyrene foam is commonly sold under the trademark name of "Styrofoam". Polystyrene packaging and insulation is a multibillion dollar a year industry. Since polystyrene is non-biodegradable, a biodegradable material that is eco-friendly is being sought as a substitute for packaging and insulation board consumers. Ecovative Design, LLC has developed a process whereby they can produce an eco-friendly packaging and insulation board product. The objective of this research was to develop and evaluate various blends of waste material from cotton gins, commonly referred to as cotton gin trash/cotton gin waste, as a substrate in Ecovative’s process. Tests were conducted to evaluate six cotton waste blends to ASTM standards as well as conventional polystyrene. Properties evaluated included: density, strength (compressive and tensile), dimensional stability, modulus of elasticity, sterilization efficacy, colonization rate, thermal conductivity, flame retardance, energy dissipation, and accelerated aging. Results revealed blends that were superior or equal to ASTM standards and polystyrene. One of the higher performing blends was used to launch Ecovative’s product (EcoCradle TM) with two Fortune 500 companies during the last few months.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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