Land Fill or Air Fill?
Isaac Dorner, Omar Kassam
St George's School
Floor Location : J 070 N

Air-filled packaging materials are commonly used to protect goods during shipping. These tend to be made of plastic because it is inexpensive, lightweight, and durable. However, plastic accumulated over half a century ago is still in landfills today. For our project, we developed an air-filled package made from cellulose paper. While sharing many properties characteristic of plastic, cellulose paper is completely compostable with household food scraps or yard waste. We made air-filled packets from this material, using heat to seal the edges. Our hypothesis was that sealed air packaging void-fill made from compostable cellulose paper would perform just as well or better than conventional low-density polyethylene sealed air packaging void-fill. To test the effectiveness of the packaging at protecting fragile items, we dropped shipping boxes containing eggs nestled within the air-filled voids made from the different materials from various heights. We measured damage to the eggs and jostling of the eggs as well as the compression and strength of the packaging. In addition, photographs were taken recording damage to the eggs. Our experiment proved our hypothesis to be correct. The cellulose packets were capable of compressing more and were just as effective at protecting fragile items, while providing a sustainable and efficient disposal solution.