The time is right, says Michael Winters, for WinCup Inc. to completely switch production of the company's expanded polystyrene foodservice products to biodegradable packaging. The Atlanta-based company, with eight manufacturing plants around the country, expects to complete the move to its Vio brand of biodegradable EPS by this fall.
WinCup, which introduced biodegradable Vio EPS products to the market in 2016, has seen continuing momentum and interest grow in the product line over time.
"I can tell you over the last three years or so, the energy and the momentum of eco-friendly and sustainable products has just really rocketed with the younger generation that is now in purchasing power positions," said Winters, president and chief revenue officer for WinCup. "They are looking for manufacturers to do something."
Vio products contain an additive that allows the EPS to break down in landfills that are biologically active. The additive, which WinCup declined to reveal, attracts microbes that biodegrade 92 percent of the Vio foam in four years.
Landfills are typically designed in a couple of different ways: those that use higher moisture content to promote degradation of waste through microbes and those that seek to limit moisture in an effort to keep the waste as stable as possible.
WinCup actually started working on a biodegradable EPS in 2010 before introducing Vio six years later. At first, the market was not quite ready.
"Throughout my career in the CPG [consumer packaged goods] business, I've seen environmental products come up to the edge and retreat and come up to the edge and retreat multiple times, never really taking a meaningful hold from a consumption standpoint," he explained.