FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING „ENVIRONMENT“

  1. Sustainability
  2. Frequently asked questions regarding "environment"

PROTECTIVE PACKAGING FOR SHIPPING PRODUCTS

Why are there paper and air cushions in shipping boxes? The product in the box is often already packed.

If the product in the box isn’t protected, it can move around during shipping and can be damaged. This equally applies to packed products in a shipping box. And a broken product would not only be annoying for the recipient, but also bad for the environment: far more energy and resources are needed for the damaged product to be returned and for a new product to be manufactured and dispatched once again than for the manufacture of paper or air cushions that prevent the product from being damaged.

Why are small products sometimes dispatched in very large boxes with a lot of protective packaging material?

As the manufacturer of protective packaging, Storopack has no direct influence over the size of the boxes and the amount of protective packaging material used by mail order companies. We do, however, offer our customers advice regarding efficient packaging processes in order to play our part in ensuring that only the protective packaging material that’s needed is actually used.

Why do some shipping cartons contain Styrofoam shapes?

This transport packaging made of expanded polystyrene (EPS, otherwise known as Styrofoam®) is necessary in order to protect goods – sensitive products like computers, TVs, and refrigerators should arrive at their placeof destination in perfect condition. If they are not securely blocked, braced, and cushioned in the carton, they can be damaged. As little material as possible is used. but at least enough to optimally protect products fromknocks and slipping. A broken product would not only be annoying for the recipient, but also bad for the environment: far more energy and resources are needed for the damaged product to be returned and for a newproduct to be manufactured and dispatched once again than for the manufacture of an EPS cushion.

Is there no alternative to EPS molded parts for product shipping?

Protective packaging involving other materials can be used, depending on the goods being shipped. Molded parts made of EPS are often needed when shipping heavy technical equipment like computers, TVs, or refrigerators as these parts are especially sturdy. But Storopack does also offer protective packaging made of paper, air cushions, foam packaging or biodegradable packing peanuts for much lighter or smaller products.

Can used Storopack products be sent back to Storopack for recycling?

Absolutely yes! However, for lowest environmental impact we suggest to dispose of products via the locally available disposal options, preferably via established collection for recycle. In most countries and communities the collection for plastics and paper for recycling are well established. Thus, it is the simplest and best way to contribute to the recycling of those products.

What sort of carbon footprint and energy footprint do the various protective packaging products have?

We have investigated if such data would be meaningful. As there are no standards for such studies we believe they are incomplete and misleading. Therefore, we have decided to stay away from such studies/statements.

REUSABILITY FOR MOLDED PARTS AND PROTECTIVE PACKAGING

Which types of protective packaging can be reused?

All Storopack protective packaging can be reused. Non-business customers, for example, can use it to return a product or to send other products. And trade and industry can use loose fill which is returned to them to dispatch products once again. 

Are plastic molded parts reusable?

Yes, expanded polypropylene (EPP) is the ideal basis for the kind of customized reusable packaging that Storopack offers because this extremely resilient material can withstand strain such as shocks and even repeated impacts during shipping – the molded part remains fully functional without any discernible damage and reliably protects the packaged goods. Storopack’s EPP packing can therefore be used for solutions with thousands of trips, for example as a cargo carrier for the shipment of sensitive bodywork or electronic components in the automotive industry. 

RECYCLING, COMPOSTABILITY AND DISPOSAL

Can Storopack protective packaging be recycled?

Yes, all of Storopack’s protective packaging is recyclable. It can be processed and reused in a variety of industrial products. The only exception are our products from renewable raw materials – they are not always recyclable, but compostable.

How should paper paddings be disposed of correctly?

Paper pads can be disposed of and recycled via the yellow recycling bin. In the Australia, disposal is regulated at a local Council level. Storopack does not use coated paper. Disposal via existing recycling facilities contributes to reducing the use of primary raw materials. PAPERplus® uses only inks which the recycler can easily remove (de-inking process).

How should air pillows be disposed of correctly?

As a consumer in the Australia, you can dispose of air cushions (ideally emptied of air) in your yellow recycling bin. They can also be deflated and taken to either a Coles or Woolworths Supermarket and deposited into their Redcycle bin for recycling into many useful and durable products. Polyethylene is incidentally a very welcome source of energy at waste-to-energy plants because its calorific value is actually higher than that of oil. Storopack also offers protective packaging which is industrially compostable, like AIRplus® BIO film, which can be used for the manufacture of air cushions. The film’s base material is a compostable plastic based on polylactic acid (PLA) and copolyester. The basis of the product is made using renewable resources. AIRplus® BIO is certified compostable in accordance with the European standard EN 13432 and the American standard ASTM D6400.

How should foam packaging be disposed of correctly?

Firstly, they can be used again, for example, as protective packaging. In Australia, they should be disposed of in non-recyclable or general waste. As a component of the general waste stream, FOAMplus® foam is an outstanding fuel for modern plants that generate energy from waste. When disposing of the foam packaging, the PE protective film does not need to be separated from the foam.

How should loose fill be disposed of correctly?

Our loose fill products PELASPAN® BIO and Renature® made from vegetable starch are likewise 100% compostable in accordance with EN 13432. They can also be disposed of with the normal household waste. In Australia, disposal is regulated on a local Council level, rather than consistently throughout the country. Please contact your local disposal service provider within your Council area, to ensure correct disposal of PELASPAN BIO®, Renature® and PELASPAN®. PELASPAN® Loose fill is a very welcome source of energy at waste-to-energy plants because they have a high calorific value and can be fully incinerated. 

Why isn’t all of Storopack’s protective packaging compostable?

Very different types of protective packaging can be needed depending on the goods being shipped. While fragile and lighter items like porcelain and glass can be ideally protected in a box using the compostable loose fill PELASPAN® BIO, heavy technical components require paper and foam packaging in order that the product is stabilized in the shipping box. This type of protective packaging isn’t compostable, but it can nevertheless easily be recycled.

Can Storopack molded parts be recycled?

Yes, all molded parts made of EPS and EPP are 100 percent recyclable. They can be treated and reused in a variety of industrial products or can be used as raw material for our loose fill.

How should molded parts be disposed of correctly?

As a consumer in the Australia, you can dispose of EPS in your general waste bin. The moulded parts are a very welcome source of energy at waste-to-energy plants because they have a high calorific value and can be fully incinerated. 

MANUFACTURING MATERIAL PAPERplus®

Is recycled material used to make PAPERplus® paper paddings?

It depends on the product. Some PAPERplus® paper pads in this line contain recycled material, while other PAPERplus® paddings do not.

What proportion of an PAPERplus® padding is made from recycled material?

For the paper pads containing recycled material, the proportion is at least 40%. Some of the paper pads are made of 100% recycled material.

Is there PAPERplus® paper padding made from renewable raw material?

Yes, PAPERplus® Classic Grass is made from up to 50 percent grass fibers and ca be fully composted or recycled. PAPERplus® Classic Grass is made without the use of processing chemicals.

Is protective packaging made from paper more environmentally friendly than plastic protective packaging?

Each material has its own manufacturing and disposal advantages and disadvantages. Paper has the advantage of being made out of the renewable resource wood. Meanwhile, PE film (polyethylene) production requires less energy and water than paper and can also be recycled with a lot less energy. All Storopack protective packaging can be reused and recycled.

MANUFACTURING MATERIAL AIRplus®

What are the air cushions made from?

AIRplus® air cushions are made from PE (polyethylene) film. We manufacture the films at our own production facilities. PE film is characterized in particular by the minimal use of resources for its manufacture and by its excellent mechanical properties – it is especially flexible, allowing you to reliably cushion, block and brace, and wrap all kinds of products.

Is the manufacture of protective packaging made from plastic harmful to the environment?

No. Neither unpleasant odors, nor toxic vapors and effluents are created during the manufacture and processing of the PE films used for our air cushions. Production of the PE films is chlorine- and sulfur-free, they do not contain any plasticizers or heavy metals, and they do not pollute groundwater

Is recycled material used to make AIRplus® films?

It depends on the product. Some AIRplus® Void films contain recycled material, while other AIRplus® films do not. What proportion of an AIRplus® film is made from recycled material? Those films which are produced with recycle content do contain a minimum of 50% recycle

What does the term “bioplastic” mean?

We have to make a distinction here between bio-based plastic, biodegradable plastic, and a mixture of the two. Bio-based plastic is made entirely or partially from biomass like corn, sugarcane, or cellulose. Compostable plastic is generally broken down into carbon dioxide and water under certain conditions. There are also “OXO-biodegradable plastics.” These are conventional plastics which have had metals added in order to make them biodegrade. 

Why doesn’t Storopack use “OXO-biodegradable plastics”?

So-called OXO-biodegradable plastics should be avoided: many experts question whether the fragments (or microplastics, depending on the size) are truly fully biodegraded. Additionally, the additives in OXO-biodegradable plastics can have a negative impact on recycling. For more information on bioplastics, see also: Article by the German Environment Agency (UBA) on bags made from bioplastic.

MANUFACTURING MATERIAL PELASPAN® LOOSE FILL

What is loose fill made from?

Our PELASPAN® loose fill is made from compostable vegetable starch or recycled EPS (expanded polystyrene) which is 100% reusable.

MANUFACTURING MATERIAL FOAMplus®

What is the foam packaging made from?

FOAMplus® foam packaging is made from expanded polyurethane called PUR. PUR can be found in many everyday objects such as upholstered furniture, mattresses, shoes, clothing, vehicles or technical equipment

Is there FOAMplus® foam packaging made from recycled raw material?

It depends on the product. FOAMplus® 5504R packaging foam is made partly from polyol, a raw material from recycled polyurethane. Waste and leftover polyurethane from manufacturing or consumers are processed at recycling facilities in order to produce polyol. FOAMplus® 5504R has similar properties to the base material and can be used to produce high-quality protective packaging

Is foam a harmful substance?

No, foam is a so-called inert substance, which means it is chemically stable and will not react on its own by getting in contact with air, water or other substances.

Are there material safety data sheets (MSDS) available for expanded PU foam?

Yes, material safety data sheets are available upon request.

MANUFACTURING MATERIAL MOLDED PARTS

What are Storopack molded parts made of?

Storopack uses four different plastics in the form of expanded foam for its molded parts: polystyrene (EPS), commonly known as Styrofoam®, polypropylene (EPP), Neopor®, and Piocelan®. They are all very light, provide exceptional insulation, and reliably absorb shocks. This makes them highly versatile. Another advantage is the limited material requirements: EPS and Neopor®, for example, consist of up to 98 percent air and just 2 percent polystyrene, while EPP is up to 95 percent air and a mere 5 percent polypropylene. iocelan® is an intelligent mix of polystyrene (EPS) and polyethylene (PE) or EPS and polypropylene (PP) and combines the advantages of both. In addition, all of these plastics are 100 percent recyclable.

Is the manufacture of plastic molded parts harmful to the environment?

No, no toxic vapors, or waste water are created when the foams are expanded. Production of the molded parts is chlorine- and sulfur-free, the parts do not contain any plasticizers or heavy metals, and they do not pollute groundwater. In addition, Storopack uses an environmentally friendly production process involving water vapor. By the way, technical molded parts play a part in conserving resources. For example, EPS and Neopor® consist of up to 98 percent air. The low weight of technical molded parts made of expanded foam means cars can be made lighter, thus reducing fuel consumption. When used for insulation, heating energy can be reduced by up to 70 percent and there is no need for cooling energy. Used molded parts can be fully recycled and can be reused for new products or protective packaging materials. As a final step, molded parts can be fully incinerated at cogeneration plants in an environmentally sustainable way, to generate energy.

Where are plastic molded parts used?

When it comes to industrial production, technical molded parts made of expanded polypropylene (EPP) are indispensable in many sectors these days: the material is very light, very malleable, robust, shock-absorbent, offers excellent insulation, absorbs next to no water, and is recyclable. It is therefore used in, for example, automobile manufacture: molded parts made of EPP feature as built-in parts in various positions in a car, from the bumper and headrests to the seat inserts and cladding. They either provide passive safety and passenger protection or make the vehicles lighter by weighing so little, thus helping to reduce fuel consumption.

What can be made out of Storopack foam molded parts?

EPS molded parts can be used to make all kind of products made from Polystyrene. A good example is roof insulation made from XPS. An excellent internal example is Storopack EPS Loose Fill. EPP molded parts can be recycled and used for example as coat hangers. But also the product can be regrinded and used in the production of new EPP molded parts.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

How does Storopack contribute to protecting the environment?

As a rule, Storopack focuses on sustainability in accordance with the “4 Rs” principle of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, and RENEW. For more information, go to www.storopack.com.au/company/environmental-policy/ We pay attention to using limited resources and energy in the production of our protective packaging and technical molded parts. Wherever possible, the Storopack production plants use energy sourced from waste heat. We also manufacture without generating chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). And last, but not least, the low weight of our protective packaging and molded parts plays a part in reducing fuel consumption during shipment. 

What is Storopack doing with regard to energy efficiency in its own locations?

The equipment at our locations also plays a major role when it comes to protecting resources. We are therefore committed to efficient energy management and continuously optimize the energy footprint of our locations. We have already achieved considerable reductions in our CO2 emissions and energy consumption thanks to a variety of modernization measures. In regular audits, we analyze how we can improve even further. More information can be found here: https://www.storopack.com.au/sustainability/energy-efficiency/

How is Storopack engaging against plastic waste?

Storopack is part of the global initiative “Alliance to End Plastic Waste”, which seeks to save the planet from the scourge of plastic pollution.

Plastic waste in the environment, especially in the world’s oceans, is a huge problem. Together with some 40 other firms, we have signed up to the mission of allowing no plastic waste to enter the environment and cleaning up existing plastic pollution. Storopack is an exclusive sponsor of the Big Blue Ocean cleanup program, one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations for cleaning the oceans. We’ve been supporting the international nonprofit foundation Big Blue Ocean Cleanup since 2018. As an exclusive sponsor of the coastal cleaning program, we’ve dedicated ourselves to a long-term partnership. Big Blue Ocean Cleanup makes an active effort to raise awareness of the current state of the world’s seas and is dedicated to protecting marine life and sustainability for clean oceans and coastlines – with initiatives dedicated to cleaning beaches, removing plastic from the ocean, offering training courses, and informing partners and the general public.

By participating in the Operation Clean Sweep initiative, Storopack is making an important contribution to protecting the environment from plastic pollution. Within our German, French, and Spanish Molding locations, we have committed to the objectives of Operation Clean Sweep and thus set the goal of preventing any plastic particles used at our production facilities from finding their way into the environment through water. This is an important contribution to preventing granule loss in the plastics value chain.