How to Dispose of Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Packing peanuts make our lives way much easier. They protect our most delicate items throughout even the most rigorous of transportation processes. And if they are biodegradable the better. At least you won’t have to worry about them harming the environment.

But there is one thing that is always on the mind of those who use these peanuts: how should you dispose of them?

Well, we have the answers you seek.

How to dispose of biodegradable packing peanuts

Biodegradable packing peanuts can be disposed of by dissolving them in water, particularly warm water. Within 15 minutes, they should be completely dissolved. Alternatively, if you live in a warm area, you could add them to your compost.

How to tell whether your packing peanuts are biodegradable

Unlike traditional packing peanuts that are made from Styrofoam, biodegradable ones are usually made from corn starch. As such, they are not usually white or pink like the plastic ones. Instead, they are usually green or tan in color.

However, the surefire way to confirm whether your packing peanuts are biodegradable is to put them in water – if they are, they will dissolve.

Are biodegradable packing peanuts good for the environment?

Since biodegradable packing peanuts can break down in a matter of days or even hours without leaving behind any toxic substances, they don’t pose a threat to the environment. They don’t fill landfills and are even safe enough to be consumed by humans, animals, and marine life. Even if you or your child eat them by mistake, you will be fine.

What’s more? When compared to Syrofoam packing peanuts, they require fewer resources to manufacture and the whole process produces fewer emissions. Also, none of the emissions they produce are carcinogenic or harmful – contrary to those produced during the manufacture of Styrofoam peanuts.

Why use biodegradable packing peanuts

Apart from them being environmentally friendly, these packing peanuts come with other advantages.

For instance, getting rid of them is easy and doesn’t require any outside interventions.

Also, unlike foam peanuts, these don’t hold any static. So they can neither stick on your clothes nor damage your electronics during shipping.

However, biodegradable packing peanuts aren’t infallible – they do have their disadvantages.

For one, they are heavier than foam peanuts, incurring higher shipping costs as a result.

Secondly, since they are more costly to produce, they are more expensive, making it more difficult for manufacturers and suppliers to wholly rely on them in these harsh economic times. Many would rather opt for foam peanuts, especially since many recycling programs accept them.

Another disadvantage of biodegradable packing peanuts is that since they dissolve water, they are not suitable for humid or rainy areas. Also, there are concerns that these peanuts may attract rodents or bugs.

It’s up to you

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether biodegradable packing peanuts are a worthy investment for you.

Rest assured of one thing though – they are not the only sustainable option out there. Available alternatives include mushroom packaging and unbuttered popcorn. As long as you choose the one that is best suited to your needs, you should be fine.

8 Comments

  1. Peat moss is not a sustainable resource and should therefore not be used as a packaging material or potting medium. There are plans for a full ban on using peat moss in the UK by 2024. Your other choices are sustainable.

  2. I receive frozen food packaged in huge 25x16x20 biodegradable foam coolers. Do you know of any businesses that accept and dispose of these coolers? I have several and can’t find any one to recycle them.

    1. I have the exact same issue but on the coolers it clearly states that it’s biodegradable. But does that mean I can just throw it out in the regular trash? To trash or not to trash is the question

  3. I’d venture to guess there are numerous places to drop off Styrofoam for reuse but not for recycling. Transporting Styrofoam is just not economical. If package handlers would take a little more care, real popcorn would hold up better. But employees are under pressure to get things done fast rather than with care. With COVID the amount of waste due to home delivery has gone up exponentially. Fortunately we have a local charity resale shop that loves our bags, boxes and packing materials.

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