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Cheap Packing Materials - Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

Updated on September 27, 2012
Jim Frazier
Jim Frazier

Shipping with Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

When shipping goods in the mail, whether USPS, UPS, FedEx, or any other service provider, you want to make sure that what you're sending is going to be safe. You don't want it to arrive broken, torn, or shattered. The best way to prevent any mishaps to the contents of your package, is to pack it accordingly.

There are many different packing methods that you can consider, but you'll find that packing peanuts are probably one of the cheaper methods. Newspaper works too, but the styrofoam peanuts offer a little give to the package.

Surprisingly enough, there are a few different types of packing peanuts to choose from. The common varieties include basic styrofoam packing peanuts, anti static peanuts, and biodegradable peanuts. They all work about the same, but they just have different properties and makeup.

Basic packing peanuts are typically made of a material that doesn't decompose very well; they can be hard to get rid of, and fill the landfill with more styrofoam products. Anti-static peanuts are generally about the same, but they have the anti-static properties, generally caused by adding chemicals. The biodegradable peanuts quickly decompose with water, which makes them environmentally friendly.

Although, the basic peanut has been available for years, there comes a time when an alternative should be considered. Styrofoam can be hard to recycle, so why not find an alternative?

Styrofoam Peanuts

Styrofoam packing peanuts have been used for years in packing boxes. This particular packing material is a petroleum-based product that is not biodegradable and can be quite difficult to recycle. If you want to help reduce waste, you may want to consider purchasing the biodegradable packing peanut, instead of the typical styrofoam peanuts.

The biodegradable peanut alternative is a great alternative if you prefer using peanuts to pack your packages over other packing materials, you may want to search around for the biodegradable and recycleable packing peanuts to use instead of the basic peanuts.

Otherwise, keep in mind that the styrofoam peanuts contain toxic chemical that, at higher levels, can cause depression, loss of concentration, weakness, fatigue, and nausea. Long-term exposure can cause liver and nerve damage, as well as cancer. You may be wondering, "what doesn't cause cancer?" Well, that's undetermined, but if you can avoid the teeny styrofoam packing peanuts for a better option, what does that hurt? If you think about it though, unless you're a big shipper, how often do you really come into contact with packing peanuts? What are the odds of contracting disease from the styrofoam?

If you are unsure, you can shop around to find cheap and safe biodegradable peanuts. They are best purchased in bulk, so that you save more money, but you can purchase them in smaller quantities, as well.

If you still prefer the regular packing peanuts, that's your preference. Just try to find a way that you can use the old packing peanuts so that the landfill doesn't fill up with peanuts.

Office Prank with Styrofoam Peanuts

What to do with extra peanuts?

Whether you send or receive styrofoam or biodegradable peanuts in a package, you can find a use for them so that they're not added to the landfill. You can reuse packing peanuts; below area few ideas of how to reuse styrofoam peanuts.

  • If you've received the peanuts in a package, and you don't think that you'll need them or could use them in a package that you may send out, you can take them to a business that may do a lot of shipping. Smaller mailing shops will generally take them from you.
  • If you've received a package with peanuts, you may want to contact the company or seller who shipped you the package, and recommend a more environmentally friendly alternative, such as old newspaper, PaperNuts, or other starch or paper based products. The more consumer pressure that a company receives to find greener alternatives, the more likelihood that companies will find alternatives.
  • Save your styrofoam peanuts and use them in the cooler. Place the peanuts in a sealable bag, such as a zip-lock bag and put the bag of peanuts on top of the ice in your cooler. This will help keep your ice longer before melting, which will keep everything in your cooler colder longer.
  • Use the non-biodegradable peanuts in the base of your potted plants. They provide good drainage, and they are lighter than using rocks or gravel.
  • If you're going to the beach, lake, or river, thread several peanuts on your key chain, so that it will float if your keys fall out of your pocket. This will definitely help you from losing your keys.
  • Make a pillow or bed for your pet. Packing peanuts are a great filler material for a dog or cat bed. You don't want to use the biodegradable peanuts in a pet pillow, but the non-degradable peanuts work great.

Packing with peanuts:

  • If you're packing a box with peanuts, send a note with the package, telling the recipient to reuse the peanut. If you used biodegradable peanuts, include in the note that they will dissolve in water and can be added to a compost bin.

Styrofoam vs. Biodegradable Peanuts


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