Packing peanuts or commonly known as foam peanuts are commonly made of polystyrene foam, a form of thermoplastic. They are extremely lightweight and provide the ability to cushion shock. If you try to compress packing peanuts using your fingers, you will notice a dent, exhibiting their shock absorbing capabilities. Due to their small size, they can easily fill up voids in your packing boxes and this will help to prevent unwanted movement of your items while in transport. However, there are concerns over the environmental impact of foam peanuts. Let’s discuss some interesting facts about them.
In the past, peanut shells were used in transportation to provide protection to fragile items. Today, the material widely used is polystyrene. Foam peanuts can only be used for an average of 10 times before they lose their protective properties. Styrofoam cannot be broken down easily and thus, they will cause a lot of waste. However, there are advances in materials used for foam peanuts. One innovative material is cornstarch peanuts. Cornstarch peanuts are biodegradable materials which can be easily degraded by adding water to it. However, cornstarch peanuts are not as durable as Styrofoam ones but they are definitely much more harmless to the environment.
Have you ever noticed foam peanuts in different colours? If you are thinking that it’s simply a novelty way to boost sales, you are wrong! They come in 3 different colours namely white, pink and green. White ones are the most commonly used and seen type but it is made from 70% non-recyclable materials. They can be used in most packaging but they are the most durable ones yet most non-environmentally friendly type. The next colour is the pink one which is treated to be anti-static. They are commonly used in conjunction with electronic products which needs to be static free. The environmentally friendly one is the green one which is made up of 70% recyclable material.
There are serious environmental concerns about the usage of foam peanuts. If you do come in contact with them in your packaging, be sure to keep them and reuse them the next time. Do not discard them as you are adding more waste into the environment. If you really do not have the capacity to store them, consider passing them to your nearby self storage facility. Most will be more than happy to take them in for future usage.
Do not discard away these commonly used packing materials as they are non-biodegradable products. Instead, you should recycle them whenever you can. If you need foam peanuts for your storage needs, you should use biodegradable ones made of cornstarch which will leave minimal waste footprint behind.