Office of Sustainability receives grant to develop Styrofoam reuse program

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Office of Sustainability received a highly competitive grant to develop a reuse program for Styrofoam lab shipping containers with biotechnology firms in the Madison area.

Biomaterials for research are often shipped in Styrofoam containers for preservation, but the Styrofoam shipping containers are difficult to recycle. As part of the grant, the UW-Madison team will develop a system for collection and management of the containers, as well as a plan to redistribute them for alternative uses.

The grant is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) P3 – People, Prosperity, and the Planet – Program, which is a university competition for sustainable design solutions.

The competition consists of two phases. In the first phase, teams develop and test their idea. In April, the teams bring their designs to the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C. for the second part of the competition, in which they compete for the second-phase P3 Award to take their design to real-world application.

The grant will be executed in part by staff and interns from  the Office of Sustainability.