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Green Cell Foam vs. Styrofoam: What You Need to Know

By Kaleigh Fasanella

YTTP is constantly talking about what can be done better within the company to become more eco-conscious and Earth-friendly. After all, the Earth is our home, and the team feels a strong responsibility to help care for it. YTTP always chooses glass bottles and jars—it’s all about making sustainable choices to respect and protect our planet and continuing to seek out innovation that does less harm to the planet. This is why Green Cell Foam—which looks just like styrofoam—is so exciting. 

Green Cell Foam is the newest development in packaging innovation that serves as an excellent sustainable alternative to styrofoam. You’ll notice it protecting the bottles and jars in the Protect the Planet kit. Want to know more? 

What Is Green Cell Foam?

Put simply, Green Cell Foam (GCF) is a non-petroleum-based, anti-static foam made from cornstarch that can be used to package a wide variety of goods—electronics, aircraft parts, perishable foods, temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, you name it. It’s also compostable, biodegradable, and water-soluble. 

How is it superior to styrofoam though? I’m glad you asked. 

Green Cell Foam vs. Styrofoam

Unlike styrofoam, which is made from a petroleum-based plastic known as polystyrene, GCF’s primary raw material—U.S.-grown cornstarch—is a renewable resource that won’t clog up landfills and create more toxic waste. Get this: manufacturing GCF requires 70 percent less energy, and it produces a whopping 80 percent fewer greenhouse gases than its petroleum-based competitor. 

Additionally, though GCF is compostable, biodegradable, and water-soluble, styrofoam does not degrade or break down over time. It can only be destroyed when exposed to extremely high heat, and if it’s not contained in a specialized incinerator during the process, it will release harmful pollutants like carbon black and carbon monoxide. 

Another major issue with styrofoam is the fact that its main building block is styrene, a synthetic chemical that’s been classified as a possible human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Pretty scary. In addition, too much exposure to styrene can allegedly cause health issues such as skin irritation, eye and respiratory problems, and gastrointestinal troubles. 

All this to say: why use styrofoam, which is putting both the planet and its inhabitants at risk, when there is a perfectly safe and equally useful substitute? We are proud to include Green Cell Foam in our sustainable, earth-friendly Protect the Planet minis kit packaging, and we hope more brands do so in the future, too.

Written by Kaleigh Fasanella for Youth To The People