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How Sustainable is Polyethylene Foam Packaging?

March 17, 2021

Polyethylene foam (PE foam) has some of the most desirable packaging properties. It is durable, versatile, and has excellent shock absorbing qualities. However, single-use plastic packaging material has become a worldwide concern.

Thankfully, polyethylene foam is a recyclable material and more viable measures can be implemented to control and manage PE foam packaging.

In today’s post, let’s take a look at some of the indicators of the sustainability of PE foam and how it affects your business and the environment.  


Polyethylene foam is 100% recyclable and categorized as a class 4 material. Its viability as a recyclable product has only increased over time, with manufacturers working to add more advantages to the material.  

Recycling machines are now being used to handle waste PE foam effectively. As a thermoplastic, PE liquefies at its melting point, and then can be cooled, injection-molded, and reheated again without losing their properties. As a result, they can be made into another functional product.


Due to its durability and excellent cushioning properties, polyethylene foam is one of the best packaging materials and can be used to seal irregular surfaces. These and other features contribute to PE’s reusability as it can survive multiple impacts. Thus, PE foam can be reused in multiple ways until the end of its life cycle.

Energy consumption

Like other thermoplastics, polyethylene foam is usually obtained from natural gas or petroleum. However, there are concerns around the use of limited energy resources. Surprisingly, producing plastic uses less energy than producing other non-plastic packaging products.

Moreover, innovative designs can easily be integrated to reduce the use of raw materials without compromising the quality of the end product.


Supply Chain Miles


Locally-manufactured PE foam shortens supply chain miles, minimizing carbon footprint from raw material extraction to product transportation. It could also mean lower logistics costs, improving your bottom line.

These and other indicators should be considered in addition to continually adopting sustainable practices. Doing so ensures that the environment, economy, and society thrive together.


 At Alcot Plastics, our extruded polyethylene foam products are manufactured with quality and efficiency in mind. As we continue to innovate our processes and products, we have catered to different industries looking for cost-efficient product packaging solutions. Contact us today to learn more!