Innovation That Matters

Aeropowder has harnessed the properties of feathers in a high-performance thermal packaging material | Photo source Pluumo

Insulating packaging made from feathers


A new material can replace petroleum-derived, non-recyclable insulation packaging

Spotted: We have likely all experienced it – opening a package and cringing at the sight of a large mass of unrecyclable packing materials. One of the most common culprits is polystyrene, a widely used plastic that is often used as insulation when delivering fresh food. Polystyrene is not only derived from fossil fuels, but it takes hundreds of years to degrade and is very difficult to recycle, meaning it most often ends up in landfills or polluting our oceans.

Enter Aeropowder, a startup which has developed an alternative to polystyrene in the form of feathers. The product, called Pluumo, is created using surplus feathers from the down and poultry industries. Thanks to their branched structure and hollow keratin fibres, feathers are very good at trapping air and reducing heat transfer.

The feathers are washed, cleaned, and converted into a textile which is then encased in a biofilm. The company’s own tests have shown that Pluumo is also completely biodegradable.

As an insulation material, Aeropowder also claims that Pluumo has greater insulation capacity that polystyrene, allowing food to stay chilled for longer and preventing spoilage of temperature-sensitive items.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the amount of waste that is thrown away each year – especially packaging. This has spurred a range of innovations aimed at reducing, reusing, and recycling packing materials. Springwise has spotted many of these, including an online grocer that delivers in refillable containers, and an online marketplace for sustainable packaging.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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