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Museum selects paper-based protective packaging to build 'Recycle Reef'

RecycleReef1.jpgRecycleReef2.jpgAn ocean reef made from paper-based packaging? Not what one would typically expect. But that’s exactly what visitors will see this summer at the Perot Museum in Dallas.

HEXACOMB®, a BOISE® company, has donated several hundred sheets of its honeycomb protective packaging material to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science to build Recycle Reef, a temporary summer exhibit that opened to the public on June 17. Hexacomb honeycomb is being used to fabricate an elaborate 4,000-sq-ft reef ecosystem. The exhibit’s foundation will be made entirely of Hexacomb, including a shipwreck and kelp plants rising up from the sea floor.

The Recycle Reef exhibit has been designed to promote recycling and to allow visitors to actually participate in creating the exhibit. A 2,000-sq-ft section immediately outside the main exhibit, called the “making” area, will feature tables and bins also made from Hexacomb. The area, stocked with child-safe tools and recyclable materials, will be the place where visitors can construct their personal masterpieces. Examples include fish, corals, and other marine life, which they can choose to take home or add to the Recycle Reef. Every evening, a fresh layer of Hexacomb kraft paper will be placed on the tabletops so that the next day’s visitors will have clean work surfaces.

Hexacomb is made primarily from renewable wood fibers engineered into a proprietary honeycomb configuration. According to the supplier, the product offers excellent strength and superior cushioning and blocking/bracing, and is typically used to protect a range of durable goods in transit. These attributes also make it a suitable material for a demanding structural project such as the Recycle Reef exhibit.

“I had seen Hexacomb being used in packaging applications before, so when we were evaluating options for building this exhibit, the material seemed like a perfect choice to support our recycling message,” says Mike Spiewak, director of exhibits, Perot Museum. “In addition to donating the material, Hexacomb has provided technical information and fabrication assistance. They have been a great partner throughout the project.”

In keeping with the theme, the entire exhibit will be recycled after it closes on August 25.

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