While enjoying a bucket of popcorn at his favourite movie theatre, Alireza Kharazipour, a researcher at the University of Göttingen, had a flash of genius: replacing polystyrene-based packing peanuts with popcorn!
To make his packing popcorns, Alireza took inedible byproducts of cornflakes production and filled them with steam to give them a peanut shape. Actually, his technique allows him to create any form he wants to protect champagne bottles, 60 inches TVs or anything else -- the sky’s the limit.
Standard polystyrene requires fossil fuel extraction and takes centuries to break down into harmful micro-plastic. And, most of the recycling facilities do not even accept processing it. But, on the other hand, this popcorn-based packing material is entirely biodegradable and can even be reused to create more packing popcorns.
The University of Göttingen already collaborates with Nordgetreide, a grain and cereal company, to make popcorn packing for commercial use. Hopefully, others will follow their lead to make a dent in the million tons of polystyrene produced each year.