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Read This Before Choosing Foam Core For Your Next Marketing Project

Foam Core

Are you looking for cost-effective yet impactful solutions for your marketing and promotional needs? Then you may have heard about using foam core.

Known for its affordability, versatility, and compatibility with various printing techniques, foam core allows small businesses to create eye-catching signs, displays, and promotional materials that make a strong visual impact without straining their budget.

This makes foam core a practical and effective choice for small businesses seeking versatile marketing solutions.

Yet foam core isn’t as straightforward a solution as you might expect. Before you decide on foam core for your next project, we’d like to take a moment to share more about its properties, uses, and the environmental and health considerations you should be aware of.

What is Foam Core?

Foam core boards consist of a foam center sandwiched between two paper or plastic sheets. They are renowned for their durability and lightweight structure. 

Foam core is a versatile material known for its lightweight and rigid properties. It’s a popular choice among various professionals and hobbyists for a wide range of applications. 

However, it’s essential to be aware of potential environmental and health issues associated with foam core. The foam core is often made of materials like Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or Extruded Polystyrene (XPS), making them non-biodegradable.

Who Uses Foam Core?

Foam core boards find applications across different fields and professions. Some of the common users include:

  • Photographers – Foam core boards are great for printing photos and creating displays.
  • Artists – They use foam core boards for painting canvas and as a sturdy surface for artwork.
  • Architects and Model Makers – Foam core is ideal for creating architectural models due to its ease of cutting and shaping.
  • Insulation Contractors – Foam core boards can be used for insulation in certain construction projects. 

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Foam Core

Is a foam core board toxic?

Foam core boards can release harmful fumes when exposed to high temperatures, making them potentially hazardous. These fumes may include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and styrene, which can lead to respiratory issues and have carcinogenic properties. 

Additionally, certain foam core boards used for insulation contain hazardous chemicals like Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which is known to cause neurotoxic effects and disrupt the endocrine system. It’s for these reasons that the EU has banned HBCD since 2016. Due to these concerns, it’s important to handle foam core boards with care and be aware of their potential health risks.

Is foam core bad for the environment?

Yes, foam core poses significant environmental concerns. It cannot be recycled, leading to the accumulation of non-biodegradable waste in landfills. 

Over time, foam core boards can break down into small toxic particles that may contaminate the soil, making it unsuitable for cultivation. These particles can also find their way into water sources, including groundwater, rendering the water unfit for use.

Furthermore, the release of toxic fumes during the use of foam core boards contributes to air pollution, further harming the environment.

How long does it take foam core to decompose?

Foam core boards are notoriously non-biodegradable, and their decomposition can take an incredibly long time, estimated at around 450 to 500 years. 

This extended decomposition period is due to their composition primarily consisting of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or Extruded Polystyrene (XPS), both of which are plastics that do not naturally decompose and cannot be recycled

Is foam core toxic to humans?

Polyurethane foam itself is relatively stable; however, issues arise when it off-gases, releasing harmful fumes into the environment. These fumes can lead to respiratory issues, including allergies, asthma, and other sensitivities. 

Styrene, a component found in foam core boards, has been identified as a carcinogen by the Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, as well as this report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information

What are alternatives to foam core?

If you’re looking for alternatives to foam core boards that are more environmentally friendly, consider options such as F-flute cardboard and Falcon Board. 

F-flute cardboard is 100% recyclable and plastic-free, making it an eco-conscious choice. 

Falcon Board, on the other hand, is a rigid media material that offers superior performance compared to foam core, with a higher level of print quality. 

It’s also made from eco-friendly materials, making it a sustainable alternative that doesn’t pose the same environmental and health risks associated with foam core.

Let Full Sail Media Provide Your Sign-Making Solutions

If you’re looking for eco-friendly sign-making solutions and marketing support for your small business, consider working with Full Sail Media
We’re happy to explore the marketing materials and strategies that will give your brand the support it needs to grow. To find out more about how we can support your business, feel free to get in touch with our team here.